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U.S. Deficit 60.7% Higher Than This Time Last Year by Bethany Blankley, The Center Square

The federal deficit in the first three months of the budget year is 60.7% higher than over the same time period as last year, a record-breaking $572.9 billion. The deficit surged as a result of Congressional spending of $3.5 trillion in 2020 in response to the coronavirus, although critics note that spending on pork barrel programs that had nothing to do with the virus increased and also drove the deficit. At the same time, revenue declined because of ongoing state lockdowns.

The Treasury Department reports that the deficit is $216.3 billion higher than the same October-December period in 2019. A record in spending for the period represented an 18.3% increase of $1.38 trillion, while at the same time revenues fell 0.4% to $803.37 billion. In the month of December alone, when Congress passed, and President Donald Trump signed several spending bills, the deficit reached a record $143.6 billion. The shortfall for the 2020 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, reached an all-time high of $3.1 trillion. See U.S. Deficit, Page 4

‘Who Pays for What’ Survey: About 2 in 5 Shops Itemizing Diagnostic Time Separately from Scanning More than a third of shops (39%) itemize on invoices the diagnostic labor time they spend researching diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) apart from the charge for the vehicle scan itself, according to just-released results from a “Who Pays for What?” survey. Among the more than 500 shops responding to the survey’s new questions related to diagnostic time, about half acknowledged never having included an itemized charge for diagnostic time. But among those that do, about three in 10 (29%) say they are paid

“always” or “most of the time” for the charge by the largest eight auto insurers, and the majority (55%) say they are paid at least “some of the time.” Mike Anderson of Collision Advice, which conducts the “Who Pays” surveys in conjunction with CRASH Network, believes those numbers will grow because diagnostic time is becoming an increasingly significant portion of collision repair work. “I know firsthand how much time it takes to research and trouble-

Vol. 39 / Issue 2 / February 2021

2009 Redux? Biden Cites ‘Urgent’ Need for his $1.9 Trillion Stimulus by Philip Wegmann, RealClearWire

The economy was bad, and the White House planned to go big. On the day the mammoth $800 billion Recovery Act became law, however, the new president took care to stress how his administration would keep a close eye on every dollar going out the door. This task of providing oversight, Barack Obama announced at the bill’s 2009 signing ceremony, would go to Joe Biden. “To you, he’s Mr. Vice President,” Obama quipped to a room that included more than one skeptical

Republican lawmaker. “But around the White House, we call him the sheriff.” In a few days, the country will call him Mr. President. A decade later, Biden confronts a deeper economic crisis, this one brought on by a global pandemic, and the incoming executive has proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package meant to buoy families and communities and small businesses as his administration pushes to step up distribution of the coronavirus vaccines. All that old sheriff has to do See $1.9 trillion stimulus, Page 4

American Honda Motor Launches New Certification Program by Stacey Phillips

Nearly six years ago, American Honda Motor launched the ProFirst Certified Body Shop Program. Many were skeptical about obtaining OEM certifications, according to Rossana Alvarez, assistant manager of collision certification and parts marketing for American Honda Motor.

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Over time, she said, shop owners began to realize the benefits of certification for their businesses and momentum began to build. In response to feedback American Honda Motor has received from shops across the country, the OEM has taken steps to update its certified

collision program. As a result, the Honda and Acura Certified Collision Program will replace the ProFirst program during a gradual transition throughout 2021. “The automotive industry continues to make technological advances at breakneck speed, highlighting the need for repair shops to be fully equipped and trained with access to necessary repair procedures to conduct a safe and proper repair,” said Alvarez. “OEM collision certifications are no longer simply popular; they are essential. The days of them being considered a fad are long gone.” Alvarez said the collision industry is rapidly changing and it was important for the Honda team to keep pace. “As OEM certification programs continue to gain traction with other sectors of the industry, the immediate recognition by those entities and our Honda and Acura vehicle customers becomes exponentially beneficial See New Certification Program, Page 18

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1.1M PPP Loans Forgiven So Far.......................49

Average One-Way Commute Time for California

2009 redux? Biden cites ‘urgent’ need for

Residents Reaches 29.3 Minutes ..................14 Boring Co. Vegas Loop Gets Unanimous Approval from Las Vegas City Council..............6 California Minimum Wage Hits $14 in 2021 ......10 CAWA to Hold Virtual Meeting Feb. 11 & 12 .......10 Classic Collision Announces Second

his $1.9 trillion stimulus..................................1

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and Technical Changes .................................50 American Honda Motor Launches New Certification Program ......................................1 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. ©2021 Adamantine Media LLC.

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Owner and Entrepreneur Develops

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Gerber Collision & Glass Opens Repair Center in Cathedral City, CA ..........................16 Kitu Systems Deploys 190 EV Chargers at Fairplex, Home of the Los Angeles County Fair ...................................................11 NV Gov. Extends Pandemic Pause, Issues Eviction Moratorium ......................................14 ProColor Collision Hires Strategic Operations Specialist to Support Franchisees in the West .23 Sunnyside, WA, Supports Local Businesses with New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations .........16 Tesla Model Y Police Cruisers Ordered by Spokane, WA, Council Against City Officials’ Advice ............................................20 Washington Joins West Coast States in Approving COVID-19 Vaccine ........................12 West Coast Customs Announces Exclusive Collab With L.A. Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dealership ......................................................6

ASE Entry-Level Certification Helps Shops Ensure New Talent is Actually Talented ..........48 ASE Registration Open ......................................40 asTech Acquires BlueDriver...............................45 Auto Insurance Rates Decreasing in 2021 for the First Time in a Decade .......................46 Carson City, NV, Auto Body Shop Donates Car to Woman Who Lost Home, Vehicle, Family Member in Tragic Fire ........................22 Collision Engineering Program Launched ..........49 Congressional Leaders Reach Deal on New COVID-19 Stimulus Relief Package ...............22 COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Begins After Pfizer Receives Emergency Use Authorization .........49 CREF Board Welcomes New Members ..............23 Dealership Buy/Sell Market on Pace for

Power Steering, Airbags ................................51 I-CAR Enhances Curriculum for 2021 to

COLUMNISTS Anderson - Two-Way Dialogue a Good Way to ‘Maintain’ Employees ................................28 Attanasio - Tim Morgan Rescues Pits and Pursues Politics ............................................44 Ledoux - The Rise of the Electric Vehicles .........32 Phillips - COVID Edition: Collision Repair

Meet Future Industry Needs ..........................42 IGONC Tireside Chat: Setting Your Business Goals for 2021 ..............................................49 Nissan Sentra Recall Ordered for Takata Airbag Inflators .............................................30 Objections to Payment and Requested

Yoswick - Panel Reviews Why OEM Repair

TrueCar Forecasts 16M New Vehicle Sales ........20

Procedure Legislation Has Mostly Failed

U.S. Car Rental Revenue Dives 27.4% in 2020 ..51

to Be Enacted ...............................................29

U.S. Deficit 60.7% Higher Than This Time Last Year .........................................................1

NATIONAL ‘Who Pays for What’ Survey: About 2 in 5 Shops Itemizing Diagnostic Time Separately from Scanning ..............................1

Used-Car Sales Likely Down for 2020, but


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, Griffin Reinhard, Norman Morano (800) 699-8251 Office Manager: Louise Tedesco Digital Marketing Manager: Bryan Malinski Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Graphic Designer: Vicki Sitarz Online and Web Content Editor: Abby Andrews Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Permissions Editor: Randi Scholtes Office Assistant: Dianne Pray

Multi-Shop Acquisition in California ...............12

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

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ........................... 33

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Continued from Cover

$1.9 trillion stimulus now is get Congress to come together—in the middle of another bitter impeachment fight. But in announcing the initiative Thursday evening, Biden didn’t mention the partisan battle currently consuming Capitol Hill. Instead, he emphasized in a prime-time speech that the dark winter he warned about during the campaign had arrived. COVID cases are spiking across the country. The economy is faltering. The nation, the president-elect argued, simply can’t afford not to act. Yes, it will be expensive. Perhaps remembering the fights over the 2009 stimulus, Biden didn’t shy away from that fact. With interest rates low, he said it was a great time to borrow even though it guarantees adding more to the ever-growing national debt. Just a few minutes into his remarks, he said that “deficit spending” wasn’t just in order. It was “more urgent than ever” to make “smart fiscal investments.” “The return on these investments—in jobs, in racial equity— will prevent long-term economic damage and the benefits will far surpass the costs,” Biden argued before adding that top economists had concluded that spending more now to spur the economy would ensure “our debt situation will be more stable, not less stable, if we seize this moment with vision and purpose.” First, the president-elect requested $400 billion in additional funding to address the health crisis. According to his plans, the money would be spent rushing the vaccine into the arms of Americans at community vaccination sites nationwide, scaling up testing and tracing to track and contain the disease, and investing in the infrastructure and supplies needed to reopen schools

Continued from Cover

U.S. Deficit Due to ongoing state lockdowns, millions of Americans are still out of work, and tax revenues also dropped, while at the same time, the demand

safely. Once made safe for students and staff, Biden wants the majority of American students from kindergarten through eighth grade back in the classroom in his first 100 days. He also promised to lay out a vaccination plan “to correct course and meet our goal of 100 million shots by the end of our first 100 days.” Second, Biden requested $1 trillion in family relief. The biggest item in this spending bucket: a $1,400 per-person check (a payment to be added on top of the $600 already agreed to by lawmakers). He wants housing assistance and nutrition assistance, more money for subsidized child care, an extension of unemployment insurance through September, and a $3,000 tax credit for every child under 17 years old. What’s more, the incoming president wants a $15 minimum wage: “No one working 40 hours a week should still be below the poverty line.” Finally, the president-elect will ask Congress for an additional $440 billion to provide relief for small businesses and to shore up struggling state and city and tribal governments. Biden proposes no less than $15 billion in direct grants as well as $175 billion in government-backed lending for small businesses. He promised that the focus would be on “Main Street,” with particular emphasis on ensuring that “minority-owned small businesses and women-owned small businesses finally having equal access to the resources they need to reopen and rebuild.” He also promised emergency funding for essential workers like municipal firefighters and police, warning that “the people putting their lives at risk are the very people now at risk of losing their jobs.” Biden offered a broad sketch of the rescue package in his 25-minute address while his team passed along

a 17-page fact sheet to fill in more of the details. It will be up to Congress to put flesh on these legislative bones. While Democrats hold the Senate after their twin victories in Georgia, their grasp is tenuous. The chamber splits 50-50, meaning that Vice President-elect Harris would cast tie-breaking votes. But power-sharing will still be a fact of life in the chamber and the incoming president didn’t offer details about how the ambitious agenda would become more than an aspiration. Biden wasn’t short on soaring rhetoric, however. “We didn’t get into all this overnight. We won’t get out of it overnight, and we can’t do it as a separated and divided nation,” he said. “The only way we can do it is to come together.” This, along with the outlined spending, was enough to have congressional Democrats cheering. “House and Senate Democrats express gratitude toward and look forward to working with the President-elect on the rescue plan,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi said in a press release. The pair heralded the spending as “the right approach” and a sign that Democrats “have a partner at the White House that understands the need to take swift action to address the needs of struggling communities.” Even the party’s most prominent progressives were impressed with the dollar amount. Democratic-socialist Bernie Sanders, Biden’s 2020 campaign rival, released a statement calling the plan “much needed” and pledged to work with his colleagues in Congress to get it passed. Republicans were predictably unimpressed. Rep. Kevin Brady, the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, said Biden had “launched yet another economic blind buffalo that does nothing to save Main Street.” The

Republican Study Committee, the largest GOP caucus in the House, tweeted that the stimulus checks alone in the plan “cost as much as the inflation adjusted cost of World War I.” This sudden rediscovery of the dangers of too large a national debt harked back to the Obama days when the GOP prided itself on being the party of fiscal responsibility. Congressional Republicans regularly warned then that the Democrat in the White House was a profligate spender mortgaging the future of generations to come. It’s an old conservative chestnut that Republicans only seem to remember when Democrats occupy the Oval Office: Under President Trump, the debt ballooned by $7.8 trillion. Familiar with those old arguments, Biden moved to head them off Thursday evening. “I know what I just described will not come cheaply,” he said. “But failing to do so will cost us dearly – the consensus among leading economists is we simply cannot afford not to do it.” This won’t be his only spending plan either. He promised that this $1.9 trillion initiative is an opening bid to Congress with more spending to come later. As the first legislative priority of his administration, the plan will test the new president’s deal-making acumen. Biden seems comfortable in the role. He didn’t balk at debt and deficits the last time he was in the White House. He hasn’t gotten skittish in the last four years either, as he heralded the first multi-billion-dollar spending package he managed. “We will be responsible with taxpayer dollars, ensuring accountability that reduces waste, fraud, or abuse,” he promised, “like we did with the Recovery Act during the Obama-Biden administration.” We thank RealClearWire for reprint permission.

by states for federal financial support dramatically increased. The Treasury reports that outlays in December were a record $489.7 billion; receipts were $346.1 billion. The December total excludes the $900 billion COVID-19 spending bill, which included $600 payments

to individuals, extended unemployment benefit programs, and directed hundreds of millions of dollars to programs overseas, about which critics also complained. From October to December 2020, unemployment benefits totaled $80 billion. During the same time pe-

riod last year, they totaled $5 billion. Prior to the $900 billion spending bill, the Congressional Budget Office forecast that 2021’s deficit will total $1.8 trillion, and remain above $1 trillion every year though 2030. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

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Boring Co. Vegas Loop Gets Unanimous Approval from Las Vegas City Council by Maria Merano, Teslarati

The Boring Company’s special use permit application for its proposed Vegas Loop project was approved by the Las Vegas City Council. The Vegas Loop will connect with the tunneling company’s Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) Loop and any other service extensions. The Las Vegas City Council discussed, voted on and approved the Boring Company’s request Dec. 16 in a 7-0 vote. The request was listed on the agenda with a recommendation for approval from the Las Vegas Planning Commission. The approval opens the door for Elon Musk’s Boring Company to begin establishing more stops in the Vegas Loop, originally developed by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association. Earlier this month, a licence and maintenance agreement for the tunnel to expand to the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas was approved by Clark County, NV, officials. Now, an even more robust ex-

pansion has been approved by the Las Vegas City Council. Steve Davis, president of the Boring Company, presented the project to the Las Vegas City Council. Davis stated the project will require zero tax dollars or public funds and would be completely funded by the Boring Company. Davis also included several photographs that included future plans and travel times between destinations. Golden Entertainment Inc. Vice President Stephen Thayer, the company which manages the Stratosphere Hotel, also passed along his words of approval for the project. “We think it is an incredible addition to what we are able to offer as a city to convention businesses and tourists,” Thayer said. “We have been in support of this and think it’s a great thing for the city of Las Vegas.” Other members of the Las Vegas community stood in support and were extremely excited about the prospect of being “in business

West Coast Customs Announces Exclusive Collab With L.A. Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dealership The world-famous West Coast Customs has entered into an exclusive collaboration with the Los Angeles Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (LACDJR) dealership to offer an array of exciting customization packages, to the diverse LACDJR vehicle line, with West Coast Customs setting up an ancillary shop and showroom at the dealership’s downtown L.A. location. “We are incredibly honored to be collaborating with such a prestigious dealership like LACDJR,” said West Coast Customs founder and CEO Ryan Friedlinghaus. “Their expansive product line lends itself to so many aftermarket options and we are able to do much of the work there at the dealership location allowing customers a onestop purchase with a customization option. “This working model is a first for both brands and we have hit the ground running, already starting work on custom projects for LACDJR customers!” The West Coast Customs Experience at LACDJR currently features exclusively customized West Coast Customs ve-

hicles on display, including some of the brand’s infamous celebrity builds, a working shop area and WCC x LACDJR exclusive merchandise coming soon. “We are fortunate to be selling iconic brands in an iconic market like downtown Los Angeles,” said LACDJR owners Rinaldi Halim and Sean Hogan. “The brands we sell attract a consumer base that loves to customize their vehicles. We wanted to create an experience inside our dealership that allows the customer to feel involved in that process. “We decided West Coast Customs would be the best partner given that it is nationally known and has a long history of publicized quality car customization work and design in the industry. After all, we are in Los Angeles the epicenter of West Coast car culture.” Visit the West Coast Customs Experience at LACDJR 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays, at 2025 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90007, or call (213) 282-3216. Source: West Coast Customs

Credit: The Boring Company via LVCC Agenda.

with Elon Musk.” The Las Vegas City Council staff recommended approval of the project, and it was ultimately


passed unanimously. The tunneling company plans to connect the Vegas Loop to several notable places in Sin City, including The Strip, Allegiant Stadium and McCarran International Airport, as well as resorts and casinos. The Boring Company recently submitted applications to Clark County, which has jurisdiction over the Las Vegas Strip. The application requested the approval of additional service extensions in the Vegas Loop. One line would connect to several Caesars Entertainment properties like Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort and Paris Las Vegas. Another line would connect the Strip to downtown Las Vegas. We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.


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California Minimum Wage Hits $14 in 2021 by Seth Sandronsky, The Center Square

The hourly minimum wage in California rose to $14 on Jan. 1, and will climb to $15 in 2023.

Credit: Jason Ogulnik/Shutterstock.com

Firms with 25 workers or less have an extra year to raise the minimum wage to $15. Upon the minimum wage reaching $15 for all hourly employees, there will be annual adjustments for cost of living increases. In the midst of a severe economic and public health crisis, what do business groups think of this minimum wage hike trend? “The cost to operate a small

business in California increases every day,” Amanda Blackwood, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, told The Center Square in an email, “and that has only escalated because of the pandemic. Our workforce needs a workable wage, but a statewide mandate is not the only answer.” Former California Gov. Jerry Brown Jr. approved the gradual phase-in of the state minimum wage to $15 an hour in 2016. California is one of 24 states to hike the minimum wage effective Jan. 1. According to U.S. News & World Report, California’s $14 hour wage for large employers is the highest minimum wage across the U.S. in 2021. California has a high cost of living, notably especially for housing in coastal communities. That housing inflation affects renting and purchasing real estate in the Golden State. “Our local and state leaders must find real-time solutions and opportunities to reduce the cost


of doing business in California,” Blackwood said. “Our employers can reinvest those funds into our workforce, especially at this time when jobs are vital to our economic recovery and our most vulnerable households.” Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, takes a different view than Blackwood. “California’s economy will get a shot in the arm with minimum wage increases to start the New Year,” Sklar said in an email. “Raising the minimum wage puts money in the hands of people who most need to spend it—from paying rent to buying food, medicine, school supplies, car repairs and more. Minimum wage increases will go right back into local economies across California, helping workers and businesses get through the pandemic and economic crisis.” The California Chamber of Commerce and California Restaurant Association declined requests for comment. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

CAWA to Hold Virtual Meeting Feb. 11 & 12 The CAWA Leadership & Educational Forum is a two-day virtual business meeting focusing on key sessions and presentations from industry experts who will share insight and critical thinking on contemporary topics that affect the automotive parts industry. It is scheduled online for 9 a.m. PST Feb. 11 and 2 p.m. PST Feb. 12. In addition to association meetings and a YANG regional meet-up, guest speakers include: Bill Hanvey, president & CEO, Auto Care Association Bill Thompson, IMR, Inc. (aftermarket research and analysis) Daniel Laury, Udelv, Inc. (autonomous delivery) Joel Ayres (automotive aftermarket charitable foundation) For information, contact Janet Waldie at 916-284-5094 or programs@cawa.org. Source: CAWA

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Kitu Systems Deploys 190 EV Chargers at Fairplex, Home of the Los Angeles County Fair In December, Kitu Systems completed the deployment of 190 networked Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers for Fairplex, in Pomona, CA. The chargers are installed at three campus locations: the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel, the Finish Line Sports Bar & Grill and the Main Parking Lot. This deployment is the largest project of Southern California Edison’s (SCE’s) Charge Ready Program. Through its Charge Ready Program, SCE installs and maintains the electrical infrastructure to support EV charging and provides rebates to reduce charging station costs. Program participants such as Fairplex typically own, operate and maintain qualified charging stations. Qualified charging stations and vendors must meet technical and operational requirements laid out by SCE, such as the ability to collect charging data and to participate in Demand Response (DR) events. In addition to providing and installing the charging and net-

tion of the project,” said Walter Marquez, interim CEO of Fairplex, “one made even more difficult with the COVID-19 pandemic. Kitu has partnered with us every step of the way, demonstrating understanding, flexibility and professionalism to complete the deployment on schedule.” “We congratulate Fairplex on their Charge Ready project,” said Vincent Weyl, VP of marketing and manager of the EV service business at Kitu Systems. “We will continue to partner with them to provide guests and visitors an easy and reliable charging expeRows of EVSEs on the Fairplex main parking lot. rience for the years to come.” The Convoy EV charge manCompleting this turnkey EV charging infrastructure solution, agement solution is powered by Kitu will collect and monetize Kitu’s Azimuth software platform Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) for Distributed Energy Resource credits and share the proceeds with (DER) interconnection. Azimuth Fairplex, further offsetting the enables coordination at scale between utility grid management syscosts of operation. “It’s been a long journey from tems, third party service providers the initial decision to the comple- and DERs such as EVs, EV charwork equipment, Kitu will provide ongoing network, operation and management services via Kitu’s Convoy EV charge management service platform. Kitu Convoy allows Fairplex to monitor site use, manage access to the chargers, and set and collect fees from drivers when applicable.

gers, solar generation and battery storage systems. “There will be tens of millions of DERs entering the landscape very soon, including electric vehicles ranging from personal cars to heavy duty vehicles. The need to seamlessly monitor and coordinate these DERs in order to ensure grid reliability and resilience as well as providing end customers the best possible experience is paramount,” said Rick Kornfeld, CEO of Kitu Systems. “The Fairplex project demonstrates how Kitu can work closely with utilities and end customers across the U.S. to deploy standard-based EV charging solutions that are cost effective, secure, and reliable.” Source: Kitu Systems


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Washington Joins West Coast States in Approving COVID-19 Vaccine by Tim Gruver, The Center Square

Washington has joined Oregon, California and Nevada in giving the green light for the first COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Dec. 13. The decision to approve the vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was made Dec. 13 following a unanimous vote by the 17-member Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup comprised of scientists from all four states. Pfizer reported in November its vaccine is about 94.5% effective according to the final results of its human trials which included some 44,000 people. It must be taken via two doses three weeks apart. Side effects can include joint pain, headaches, tiredness, fever and swelling around the injection site. “After looking at all of the available data, our workgroup unanimously agreed that at this time the benefits of this vaccine greatly exceed any theoretical risks,” workgroup member Dr. John Dunn said. “I personally am reassured by the safety profile and look forward to being vaccinated as soon as I am eligible.”

The vaccine was approved by FDA on Dec. 11 by a margin of 17-4 for people ages 16 and up. FDA leaders who voted against it voiced concerns about its unknown side effects on those younger than the recommended age. Washington expects to receive 62,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine by this week with another 160,000 due by the end of December. The first batch was expected to arrive by Dec. 14 while vaccinations were poised to start on Dec. 15. Oregon expects to receive 147,950 doses this month while California is hoping to receive 327,000 doses. Up to 189 organizations statewide will act as vaccine providers, the Washington Department of Health reports, including hospitals and family medicine clinics. The vaccine must be stored at sub-zero temperatures and must be used quickly, according to Deanna Stark, a public health educator with the Spokane Regional Health District. Stark said the vaccine can be stored in the thermal shipper it comes in so long as it is used up within 20 days. The Spokane area already

boasts four “ultra-cold storage” sites, according to Stark. Each thermal shipper contains enough doses for as many as 975 people, said DOH spokesperson Franji Mayes, and the DOH is working to allow hospitals to send unneeded doses to other enrolled facilities. According to the state’s vaccine distribution plan, all available doses will first be distributed to frontline health care workers, first responders and long-term care facilities under “phase 1a.” Later phases will prioritize vaccinations for essential workers and disadvantaged communities. Washington expects another 183,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna around that time frame should it be approved by the FDA. Moderna has reported their vaccine is about 95% effective against the virus with a range of similar side effects to Pfizer’s vaccine. News of the vaccine’s approval comes nearly a year after Washington identified its very first COVID-19 patient on Jan. 20. Since then, the state of 7.6 million people has seen a daily average of 3,177 new reported cases in the

Classic Collision Announces Second Multi-Shop Acquisition in California Classic Collision LLC, a national multi-site collision repair operator headquartered in Atlanta, announced an acquisition the last week of 2020 of Schiro’s Collision Repair—one location in Chatsworth, CA, and one in North Hollywood, CA.

Following its entrance into California in October with the acquisition of Pride Auto Body, Classic Collision now operates 57 repair centers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and California. Schiro’s Collision Repair has been exceeding industry standards and customer expectations for more than 50 years. “Our family-owned and -operated business has delivered consistently high-quality auto body

repairs and exceptional customer service to thousands of satisfied customers,” said Joe Schiro, former owner of Schiro’s Collision. “As part of the Classic Collision team, we are excited to continue these commitments and grow as a leader in the collision repair industry.” Classic Collision is looking towards the future and continues to implement its strategy to expand across the country in 2021 despite the unique challenges brought onto the industry in 2020. “During these difficult market situations, we are not slowing down our plans to expand,” said Toan Nguyen, CEO of Classic Collision. “Our team’s highly effective integration model and proprietary tech-enabled operations playbook keep us safely performing at a high level. We will continue to acquire high-end businesses which makes a lot of sense for our customers, insurance partners, teammates, landlords and communities we serve.” Source: Classic Collision

past week—up from a weekly average of 2,676 cases the previous week. Statewide hospital capacity hovered around 80% on Dec. 11. The state’s caseload to date now stands 202,063 while its death toll stands at 2,879 people, less than two weeks before Christmas. “This doesn’t mean we are out of the woods yet,” Inslee said. “We can’t let up on masking, physical distancing and restrictions on indoor activities. We need to continue to slow the rate of infection as we work to get Washingtonians vaccinated. We must keep up the fight a little longer and I know we will get through this, together.” While medical experts are divided on just how many Americans will have to be vaccinated to stop the pandemic’s chain of transmission, White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that number is around 75% to 80%. Washington’s partial statewide shutdown limiting social gatherings and indoor business capacity ends on Jan. 4 following an extension by the governor. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

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NV Gov. Extends Pandemic Pause, Issues Eviction Moratorium by Michael McGrady, The Center Square

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced he will continue the state’s latest pause on public activities due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. “I know the mitigation restrictions in place under the current pause are devastating to many Nevadans who just want to go back to normal, who are worried about their jobs, their businesses, keeping their homes and getting their kids back to school,” Sisolak said in a press conference Dec. 13. “But as I’ve said for nine months now, we must do what we can to protect the health and safety of the public,” he added. In November, Sisolak implemented a three-week plan that included stricter mask requirements, smaller business capacities, and gathering limitations, among other restrictions. The order was expected to expire the week of Dec. 14, but was extended until Jan. 15.

The restrictions implemented Nov. 22 under the pause policy includes reducing gathering limits from 250 people to 50 or an overall 25% capacity, and capped private gatherings at 10 people from no more than two households. “This is a reality we cannot afford to risk at this time,” Sisolak said. “During this current surge we are experiencing, it’s critical that we do all we can to keep Nevadans in their homes and mitigate the risk and spread and infection.” Sisolak also announced a residential eviction moratorium starting Dec. 15. “When people are evicted it is impossible to stay home. They’re out looking for jobs and housing to desperately save their families,” potentially further spreading COVID-19, he said. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.


Average One-Way Commute Time for California Residents Reaches 29.3 Minutes California residents spend an average of 29.3 minutes commuting to work, the sixth longest commute among the states that Coverage. com studied in an analysis using pre-coronavirus data. About 12.2% of commuters in the state have one-way travel times exceeding one hour, according to the analysis. The city in California with the shortest average commute time was Fort Irwin, according to the website, which aims to educate consumers by offering impartial insurance information. Coverage.com relied on 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to

rank states and the District of Columbia. The key commute data for Wyoming was not available. Initial studies show that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Americans’ commuting habits, with public transit use decreasing, bikes and e-bikes gaining popularity and overall travel time decreasing as more people work from home, the researchers found. Increased commuting times can be associated with more stress as well as an acceleration of climate change, according to Coverage.com. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

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Sunnyside, WA, Supports Local Businesses with New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations The City of Sunnyside has installed four new SemaConnect electric vehicle charging stations in Central Washington. Thanks to funding from Pacific Power and the Port of Sunnyside, the new charging stations will support local business and provide a necessary charging amenity along the I-82/YVH corridor. The four stations are mounted on two dual pedestals on S. 5th Street near the Central Park main entrance. The new SemaConnect Series 6 charging stations are designed for the outdoors with a slim, rugged build, interactive LED lights and network connectivity. With the SemaConnect Network, drivers can find live station status, get directions and pay for power. City officials can set pricing and view reports on usage and sustainability. Sunnyside will receive three years of SemaConnect’s Full Service Package, which includes full replacement warranty, full network services, over-the-air updates and 24/7/365 customer service.

thing that Sunnyside has to offer.” “The City of Sunnyside is perfectly situated on I-82 to support EV drivers traveling in Washington,” said Eric Smith, sales manager at SemaConnect. “SemaConnect charging stations are a great way for a city to become a travel destination. We’re excited to help more drivers discover the best of Sunnyside! Sunnyside is setting a strong example for other cities that want to promote tourism, boost local business and reduce emissions.” EV drivers can charge for $1.25 per hour using the SemaConnect app, EV drivers can charge for $1.25 per hour at the four new SemaConnect Pass, online SemaConnect charging stations located near the main portal at network.semaentrance of Central Park. connect.com, pay with town amenities for tourists, and we PlugShare or by dialing 1-800-663leapt at the chance to support local 5633. Live station status and direcSunnyside businesses like near- tions can be found on SemaConnect, by Varietal Brewing and Co Dinn Google Maps and PlugShare. Winery. We invite travelers on I-82 to plug in at our new SemaConnect Source: City of Sunnyside, Semacharging stations and explore every- Connect “Electric vehicles are growing in Washington, and they’re coming to Sunnyside,” said Shane Fisher, Sunnyside public works director. “Local business owners contacted the city about adding new down-

lision & Glass. “The opening of this location near our Palm Desert repair center expands our brand and reaffirms our commitment to growth throughout North America.” The Boyd Group is continuously looking to add new collision repair locations to its existing network in Canada and the U.S. Interested collision repair center owners are asked to contact Jason Hope, vice president of business development and strategic projects, at (530) 774-3887 or jason.hope@boydgroup.com. Source: The Boyd Group Inc.

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The winners of the 2021 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY) Awards were revealed Jan. 11 during a virtual event hosted by the organization’s officers. After hundreds of hours of test drives, research and evaluation, NACTOY’s independent jurors voted for Hyundai Elantra as the North American Car of the Year, Ford F-150 as North American Truck of the Year and Ford Mustang Mach-E as North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Founded in 1994, these awards are the longest-running new-vehicle awards not associated with a single publication, website, radio or television station. They are judged by 50 professional automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada who work for and contribute to a wide variety of magazines, newspapers, websites, television and radio stations. Source: NACTOY


Gerber Collision & Glass Opens Repair Center in Cathedral City, CA The Boyd Group Inc. announced the opening of a collision repair center in Cathedral City, CA. Cathedral City, also known as “Cat City,” is a desert resort city located between Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, and a primary municipality in the Colorado Desert’s Coachella Valley. This location is visible from Highway 111 and to all who visit a dealership auto mall nearby. “We look forward to deliveringoutstanding customer service and high-quality repairs while serving this community in the Cathedral City area,” said Kevin Burnett, COO of Gerber Col-

NACTOY Reveals 2021 Winners


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©2020 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Mopar and SRT are registered trademarks of FCA US LLC. FIAT is a registered trademark of FCA Group Marketing S.p.A., used under license by FCA US LLC.

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Nozzleof the 2021 North The winners 1.1 I 1.2 I 1.3 I 1.4 I 1.5 I 1.6 I 1.1 O 1.2 O 1.3 O 1.4 O 1.5 O 1.6 O AmericansizeCar, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACStandard with one each RPS multipurpose cup 0.6 l / 0.9 l, with swivel joint TOY) Awards were revealed Part 1061548 Jan. 11 during a virtual event 1061564 1061572 1106534 1106542 1061580 1061598 1061605 1061613 1106550 1106568 1061556 No. hosted by the organization’s officers. DIGITAL cpl. with one each RPS multipurpose cup 0.6 l / 0.9 l, with swivel joint SATA Nozzle After hundreds of hours of Part 1061639 1061655 1061704 1061738 1199976 1109942 1061770 1061796 1061811 1061837 1109968 1109950 test drives, No.research and evalSelector APP uation, NACTOY’s independent jurors voted for Hyundai HVLP Elantra asNozzle the North American 1.1 I 1.2 I 1.3 I 1.4 I 1.5 I – 1.1 O 1.2 O 1.3 O 1.4 O 1.5 O – size Car of the Year, Ford F-150 as NorthStandard American Truck with one eachof RPS multipurpose cup 0.6 l / 0.9 l, with swivel joint the Year and Ford Mustang Part 1061895 1061902 1061887 1061910 1061928 – 1061936 1061944 1061952 1061960 1061978 – Mach-E No. as North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. DIGITALincpl.1994, with one each RPS multipurpose cup 0.6 l / 0.9 l, with swivel joint Founded these awards are the longest-running Part 1062009 1061986 1062017 1062041 1062059 – 1062083 1062091 1062132 1062140 1062174 – new-vehicle No. awards not associated with a single publication, website, radio or television station. They are judged by 50 professional automotive jourPhone: 800-533-8016 nalists from the U.S. and CanaThe exclusive independent distributor of SATA products www.satausa.com da who work for and contribute in the US and Puerto Rico E-mail: satajet@satausa.com to a wide variety of magazines, SATA, SATAjet and/or other SATA products referenced herein are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SATA GmbH & Co. KG in the U.S. and/or other countries. newspapers, websites, television and radio stations. Source: NACTOY

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Continued from Cover

New Certification Program to our certified shops and American Honda Motor,� she added. I recently talked to Alvarez about the new program and some of the highlights: What prompted the decision to replace the ProFirst Certified Body Shop Program? The ProFirst program was one of the first OEM certified collision programs to launch, and has made great strides. We’ve found it is held in high regard and has been widely accepted by repair facilities. The Honda and Acura Certified Collision program provides several improvements, including enhanced and absolute customer recognition. The program will effectively leverage both brands by triggering instant recognition in the larger population, and more importantly, vehicle owners. With ProFirst, customer recognition was an uphill effort—not just for American Honda Motor, but also

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for certified shops. We heard our certified shops loud and clear in regard to changing the program’s name. We have been working toward this for a long time and I am thrilled to address the need for an immediate brand connection between our customers and certified shops. What are some of the program’s highlights and how does it differ from the former one? The ProFirst program included free access to the Honda and Acura Service Information System, parts catalogs, dedicated regional collision market managers, a customized plaque, promotional items and a shop locator listing. Building on this incredible value, the Honda and Acura Certified Collision Program provides immediate customer recognition, more effective advertising logos and a newly redesigned plaque that will showcase the multiple years a shop has achieved certification. In addition, there will be an annual certification fee. American Honda Motor has held the same price point since the program was

launched. After evaluation, we felt this was a good time to implement a fee adjustment and remain competitive. Another change will be the standardization of the option for renewing shops to select a guided virtual audit or an on-site audit. During 2020, guided virtual audits were offered as a temporary measure to aid with COVID-19 state and regional restrictions and will now become standard. Training for both programs will increase in 2021 based on vehicle need. What types of facilities can become part of the certified network? Our certified network will continue to be comprised of independent shops, MSOs and shops aligned with a dealer group. We will exercise a high degree of selectivity in inviting new shops to apply and certified shops to attempt certification once more. Shops will be determined by each collision market manager in their region. American Honda Motor is very proud of managing our certified network and will continue to do so.




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Is there anything additional you would like the collision industry to know about the program? The ultimate goal is to connect vehicle customers with certified shops. These shops have agreed to do the right thing in conducting safe and proper repairs per the provided Honda/Acura repair procedures. With the increased visibility, this goal becomes even more important. As the program progresses, we will continue to evaluate shops to determine if they are following the requirements and should be invited to apply for renewal. I urge all shops, prospective and currently certified, to make sure they understand the requirements and evaluate whether they will be able to support the requirements and intent of the program. If the answer is anything other than a resounding “yes,” then it is not for them. Read the “Terms and Conditions” to make sure you make the best business decision for your business.

PPG Appoints New VP, CIO PPG announced Jan. 11 the appointment of Bhaskar Ramachandran as vice president and chief information officer (CIO.) Ramachandran will succeed Chris Caruso, current vice president, IT, who has announced his intent to retire, effective March 1.Ramachandran joins PPG from Jabil Inc., an American worldwide manufacturing services company. As vice president, IT and CIO of the company’s largest division, he led the creation of a transformative strategy to introduce a fully cloudbased connected eco-system to make production more efficient and cost-effective. Prior to joining Jabil in 2015, Ramachandran progressed through IT leadership roles of increasing responsibility at Textron, Inc., a multi-industry company, where he was accountable for strategy development and operational elements of Textron’s SAP center of excellence. In 2013, he was appointed VP, IT and CIO for the company’s defense and intelligence segment. Source: PPG




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Tesla Model Y Police Cruisers Ordered by Spokane, WA, Council Against City Officials’ Advice by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati

The Spokane Police Department will be receiving four Tesla Model Y police vehicles, even if city officials are against their purchase. The approval of the Model Y police cars is due to the Spokane City Council, which, after weeks of debate, voted Dec. 14 to purchase the all-electric crossovers, overriding a plan outlined by city officials earlier. The city officials who were against the Tesla Model Ys suggested instead of the all-electric vehicles, the Spokane Police Department should just buy two hybrid and two traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. According to city officials, the Spokane Police Department is not yet prepared to use and maintain electric cars like the Tesla Model Y. The city officials proposed the Spokane Police Department use one Tesla next year at most, as noted in a report from The Spokesman-Review.

Continued from Cover

‘Who Pays for What’ shoot DTCs,” Anderson said. “Diagnostic labor time should really be separated from the scan labor time because there are just too many variables involved. “Just as judgment times vary based on the size and location of the damage and the substrate involved, diagnostic time varies as well,” Anderson continued. “Isn’t the time it takes to research one diagnostic trouble code different from researching five? “And it’s not just looking up the code. You also have to navigate the OEM repair flowchart to determine what the most probable cause is,” he said. “If there are several possible causes, it might be the first one you try, or the last one. All this takes time.” The latest quarterly “Who Pays for What?” survey is now open through January, focusing on “not-included” refinish labor operations. Shops can take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/

In a statement following the Dec. 14 vote, city spokeswoman Marlene Feist expressed the city officials’ reservations about the all-electric crossovers.

“The administration remains concerned about this purchase because of the high cost and lack of EV charging infrastructure to support these vehicles, as well as the time that they would be unavailable for use due to charging,” Feist said. Among the points of contention leading up to the Dec. 14 vote involved the Model Ys’ charging systems, and whether enough of the Spokane PD’s patrol cars sit unused overnight to allow time for charging. The city’s sustainable transportation analyst, Nathan Groh, noted about half of the police’s

6JNH3PF Survey participants receive a free report with complete survey findings along with analysis and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented. Anderson said the survey, which will take about 15 to 20 minutes, can be completed by anyone in a shop familiar with the shop’s billing practices and the payment practices of at least some of the largest national insurers. Each shop’s individual responses are held in the strictest confidence; only aggregated data is released. The results of previous surveys are also available online at https:// www.crashnetwork.com/collisionadvice. Collision Advice (www.CollisionAdvice.com) is an independent training and consulting firm featuring some of the most respected and experienced experts in the collision repair industry. CRASH Network (www.CrashNetwork.com) is a subscription newsletter offering news and information not available from other industry sources. Source: CRASH Network

TrueCar Forecasts 16M New Vehicle Sales

patrol vehicles are parked at least three to four hours per day. “That would offer some room for charging the proposed electric vehicles,” he said. The purchase of the all-electric vehicles was a victory of sorts for Council President Breban Beggs, who has been fighting for EVs for some time now. Beggs has previously lamented the hesitation of city officials over the buildout of an EV charging infrastructure in the city. “This is a great time to pilot this and see how it works. It would take essentially one charger to be installed,” Beggs said. As noted by Review, the Tesla Model Y police cruisers would cost an estimated $418,088, a rather steep price considering a fully-loaded Model Y Performance with Full Self-Driving costs less than $75,000. A grant will be covering $200,000 of the project’s cost. We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.

TrueCar, Inc. projects 16 million new light vehicle sales for 2021, an increase of 10% from the previous year. Retail sales are expected to reach 13.9 million, an increase of 9.6% from 2020. Q4 2020 saw record-breaking average transaction prices for new vehicles, as incentives eased and consumers opted for more expensive SUVs and trucks. The trend towards more expensive vehicles continues in 2021. Average transaction prices are projected to increase 3.1% year over year to $37,925. In previous years, the average transaction increased roughly 4% year over year. Average interest rates for new vehicles in 2020 were 4.74%, and interest rates for used vehicles were 8.47%. TrueCar forecasts that interest rates for 2021 will remain similar to those seen in Q4 2020. Source: TrueCar

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autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 21 12/11/19 1:23 PM

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Carson City, NV, Auto Body Shop Donates Car to Woman Who Lost Home, Vehicle, Family Member in Tragic Fire Rupert’s Auto Body in Carson City, NV, has supported many causes through the years from youth sports and organizations, to children’s programs and local schools. We have also taken special pride in providing support to the Washoe Tribe and its members. On Sept. 8, 2020 tragedy struck the household of a beloved tribal elder, Dinah Pete, of Woodfords, CA. An electrical fire resulted in the complete loss of her home and vehicle. Even more tragic was the loss of a precious granddaughter. Several other people in the house sustained injuries, and neighbors broke windows in an attempt to come to the aid of those inside. Unfortunately the fire continued to spread and resulted in the burning of the adjacent house and trailer. When we learned of this horrific event, we wanted to extend help and support in some way to the families involved. We saw there was an area where we could offer support and assistance, by

providing a vehicle to replace the one that was lost in the fire. We recently had a customer whose car sustained damages more than the value of the vehicle, and she desired to donate the vehicle to the shop. We opted to make all of the repairs for free and then use the car as a donation to Pete. The customer who donated the car was very happy to hear the car was going to a good cause. Although the gesture is small, we sincerely hope that it will help. Pete was very emotional and grateful to learn of our intentions to help out with replacing her car, and graciously accepted our offer. She expressed her appreciation in heartfelt words at the presentation, saying to Ted Rupert, “You are a prime example of what is needed in this world, to step up and help those in need, without being asked. I greatly appreciate Rupert’s Auto Body, and all of the people who made this happen.” We thank Carson Now for reprint permission.

Congressional Leaders Reach Deal on New COVID-19 Stimulus Relief Package by Dan McCaleb, The Center Square

Congressional leaders have agreed to a new stimulus package that will provide more aid to struggling small businesses and send a second round of direct payments to Americans. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others confirmed the $900 billion coronavirus relief deal Dec. 20. If approved by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, the measure will include $600 in direct payments to adults and children from qualifying households, more than $280 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses through a renewed Paycheck Protection Program, and $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits on top of state benefits. “I believe I can speak for all sides when I say I hope and expect to have a final agreement nailed down in a matter of hours,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “At this point, we’re down to the last few differences that stand between struggling Americans and their ma-

jor rescue package they need and deserve.” The proposed legislation also includes about $25 billion in rental assistance and an extension of an eviction moratorium put in place earlier this year, which it was set to expire this month. An additional $82 billion would be set aside for schools and colleges to prepare to safely reopen classrooms. It also would help pay for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Moderna’s vaccine was approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday, a week after Pfizer’s vaccine also received emergency use authorization. “We are going to crush the virus and put money in the pockets of the American people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.


22 FEBRUARY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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CREF Board Welcomes New Members

ProColor Collision Hires Strategic Operations Specialist to Support Franchisees in the West

The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) announced the appointment of six new members to its Board of Trustees in 2020. Through the guidance, support and direction of the Board of Trustees, CREF can continue its support of high school and college collision programs, students and instructors across the country, and address the industry’s need for properly trained, entry-level staff. The six Board of Trustees members who joined in 2020 include Tom Brown, 3M; Paul Folino, LKQ Corporation; Brenda Hogen, Parts Trader; Ken Hudson, Farmers Insurance; Scott Kohl, Liberty Mutual Insurance; and Sandee Lindorfer, Allstate Insurance Company. Companies looking to partner with CREF in supporting local high school and college collision programs can email info@ ed-foundation.org.

“I’m excited to join ProCoProColor Collision is pleased to automotive industry since 1994, announce the appointment of Kev- having worked in a variety of roles lor Collision team and support ork Kahwajian as strategic opera- from appraisals to marketing to our franchisees as we develop our tions specialist for the network’s business development for region- network in California, and evenoperations in the west region of the U.S. “His knowledge of all areas of our franchisees’ In this role, Kahwajian will business will help them realize new opportunities work closely with franchisees to help them maximize daily operafor delivering quality repaid and great tions and implement standardized processes and production strategies. customer service.” — Peter Polito He will also support franchisees in maximizing revenue while al brands like Industry tually across the United States,” providing a superior level Finishes, Fix Auto USA said Kahwajian. “I look forward of customer service. and Center Valley Auto- to sharing my experience with our “Kevork’s experimotive. He will bring this network of collision repair centers combined experience to to help them optimize their day-toence working regional help ProColor Collision day operations.” body shops on improving ProColor Collision is part of franchisees identify optheir operational perforportunities for improve- Fix Network World and aims to be mance will be valuable a repairer of choice in the U.S. It as we grow our network,” Kevork Kahwajian ment and growth. He spent the majori- offers independent auto body shops said Peter Polito, ProCoty of his career with Auto standardized management tools lor Collision’s regional general manager, Western U.S. Club of Southern California in its and training to support their busi“His knowledge of all areas of claims and material damage divi- ness performance. ProColor’s team our franchisees’ business will help sion. There, he worked his way up of industry professionals bring them realize new opportunities for from a material damage appraiser proven experience in sales, operadelivering quality repaid and great to eventually managing a group of tions and marketing to support the shops and adjusters for their Direct franchisees’ daily operations. customer service.” Source: ProColor Collision Kahwajian has been in the Repair Program (DRP.)

Source: CREF

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Driven Brands Collision Group Stands ‘UNIT3D’ by Stacey Phillips

Early in December, Driven Brands Collision Group held a virtual summit themed “UNIT3D.” During the event, speakers talked about the challenges the industry is facing and the importance of unity among the Driven Brands’ franchises to pave a path forward. After welcoming attendees to the event, Michael Macaluso, Driven Brands’ group president and EVP, paint, collision & glass, discussed the importance of strength for the company’s family of family businesses. “This year has certainly been trying but absolutely rewarding,” said Macaluso. “We’ve adjusted, we’ve pivoted and we’ve persevered.” Macaluso said that most importantly, throughout 2020, Driven Brands has tried to ensure the safety and health of the team, customers, franchisees and partners within the network. Guest speaker Mike Anderson, owner of Collision Advice, discussed the state of the industry and then held a panel discussion focused on current industry issues during the pandemic. “I understand that there are challenges in our industry right now with COVID…” said Anderson. “You don’t have to have it all figured out. All you have to do is be willing to reach out to other people and say, ‘Can you help me?’ It’s really that simple.” He pointed out how the Driven Brands family has recently grown and advised attendees not to underestimate the value, importance and strength of the franchisees reaching out to one another to help accomplish a goal. An additional keynote speaker was Nancy Friedman, founder and chairman of the Telephone Doctor. Friedman shared tips and techniques on the “Golden Nuggets of Sales & Customer Service” during the pandemic. She encouraged attendees to prepare for the unexpected, embrace change, do something extra, return phone calls and make sure not to be too busy. Throughout the event, brand updates were given by company leaders. “2020 has been a year to forget,”

said Landon Thompson, vice president of operations, Fix Auto USA. “All businesses have faced challenging conditions this year, but few have really gone through what we have.” He pointed to the three-and-ahalf-year dispute with Mondo that was resolved Feb. 5. He also talked about the acquisition by Driven Brands six weeks after the coronavirus broke out.

Despite the challenges with COVID-19, 21 new franchise locations were added over the year. “We’ve prided ourselves on being great performers and not only have we sustained our performance, we’ve improved it,” Thompson said. Mark Wahlin, VP, franchise development & operations, ABRA, said 2020 for ABRA actually started in October 2019, when Driven Brands acquired the franchise. Since the pandemic, Wahlin noted, there has been additional work at the shop level related to the safety protocols for both employees and consumers. “It was an amazing shift and through it all, the centers stayed open,” he said. “The comeback has been amazing. At the end of October [2020] as a group, our sales are slightly ahead of that same time period as 2019. As we look forward to finishing up this year and growing into 2021, the expectations are high for that growth to continue.” Jeff Labanovich, GM of CARSTAR Canada, gave an update on CARSTAR North America and then spoke about the network’s resilience in 2020 during the pandemic. He said through all of the challenges, CARSTAR has persevered and learned to adapt. “Being thrust into this change, I’ve just seen such resilience,” said

Labanovich. “… store owners, marketing groups standing together to figure out how to do things differently in an environment where honestly the market share is shrinking and that is something we need to be seriously protective of.” In addition to the brand updates, Arlo Johnson, SVP Insurance, talked about the learnings from the year and key industry updates in regard to network performance and strength. “Our primary responsibility is to help CARSTAR, Fix Auto USA and ABRA stores grow sales,” said Johnson. “We’re very focused on adding DRPs and that’s how my team is measured.” Johnson estimated they added more than 1,000 DRPs in 2020 across all three brands in the U.S., and 77% are with top 10 carriers. Top-performing franchise partners for ABRA, CARSTAR and Fix Auto USA were also honored for their excellence in Length of Rental (LOR) and Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI). Honors were given to the following:

ABRA LOR: ABRA, Rochester, MN, owned by Tom Kadlec, District Manager Kris Joeckel and Manager Angie Henry CSI: ABRA, Sparta, MI, owned by Pablo Rodriquez, District Manager Del King and General Manager Dan Rowan CARSTAR Canada LOR: CARSTAR Bridgewater, Bridgewater, NS, owned by Wendy and Kevin Enimo CSI: CARSTAR Collingwood, Collingwood, ON, owned by Gary Boucher CARSTAR U.S. LOR: CARSTAR Premier, Houston, TX, owned by Moe Shaban CSI: CARSTAR Greenfield Autobody, Greenfield, WI, owned by Mariusz Stanisz Fix Auto USA LOR: Fix Auto Irvine, Irvine, CA, James Huard and Amanda Fazio, See Stands ‘UNIT3D’, Page 45

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Dept auto








D m






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26 FEBRUARY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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Please contact these dealers for your Honda or Acura Genuine parts needs. HONDA CALIFORNIA

AutoNation Honda Roseville Roseville

800-262-3201 916-783-5628

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5:30 autonationhondaparts@hotmail.com

Barber Honda Bakersfield



Selma Honda

Lithia Honda of Medford

408-720-0221 408-736-2608

800-717-3562 559-891-5111

888-471-7445 541-770-3763


Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 7:30-4:30 hondapartsmgr@selmaautomall.com

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Sierra Honda

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Galpin Honda

Ocean Honda

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Honda of Hollywood Hollywood

800-371-3719 323-466-3205

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6 parts@hondaofhollywood.com


Dept. Hours: M-Sat 8-5 parts1@hopkinsdirect.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30; Sat 7:30-4 wholesaleparts@metrohonda.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-2 mteeman@galpin.com


Larry Hopkins Honda

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5:30 bestchoice@barberhonda.com Mission Hills


Santa Cruz

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 8-4:30 mickw@oceanhondasantacruz.com


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San Diego


Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 8-5 NEVADA

San Francisco Honda 415-913-5125


Las Vegas

San Francisco

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800-433-0676 626-683-5880

Scott Robinson Honda

Findlay Honda Henderson

Honda of the Desert

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Cathedral City




Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 7:30-4:30 rickb@hinshaws.com

888-941-2218 208-947-6060

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5 partsws@sfhonda.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 8-4

Hinshaw’s Honda

800-456-6257 509-547-7924


Findlay Honda



McCurley Integrity Honda

Honda of Pasadena Pasadena

Dept. Hours: M-Sat 7:30-6; Sun 10-5 medfordhondaparts@lithia.com

Larry H. Miller Honda

Pacific Honda 858-565-9402



Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5:30; Sat 8-4 hondaparts@mccurley.net

South Tacoma Honda Tacoma

888-497-2410 253-474-7541

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 bgregory@southtacomahonda.com


888-234-4498 702-568-3531

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 8-5 fhhparts@findlayauto.com


Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 7-5 mpartridge@honda111.com





Acura of Concord

Bakersfield Acura

Acura of Honolulu

Hinshaw’s Acura



866-931-9086 808-942-4557




Dept. Hours: Mon-Sat 7-6 keith.whisten@cacargroup.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30 bakersfieldacuraservice@yahoo.com

Acura of Fremont

Marin Acura

888-435-0504 510-431-2560

800-77-Acura 415-927-5350


Corte Madera


Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-4 Johara@lithia.com Tokuda@lithia.com RayleenGarcia@lithia.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5:30; Sat 8-4 parts@marinacura.com

Findlay Acura

Acura of Pleasanton

Metro Acura

888-985-6342 925-251-7126

800-446-5697 909-625-8960

877-770-5873 702-982-4160

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-6 mitch.cash@hendrickauto.com


Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 8-5 johnny@hinshaws.com


Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 8-5 mike.ohare@acuraoffremont.com Pleasanton



Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 8-4 jmoore@findlayauto.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30 wholesaleparts@metrohonda.com

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with Stacey Phillips

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.

Two-Way Dialogue a Good Way to ‘Maintain’ Employees Just as regular maintenance of your shop’s equipment and facility is critical to keep it functioning well, “maintenance” of your employees is just as important. After all, replacing a good employee can be every bit as costly—and often more difficult—than replacing a welder or frame rack. It was that goal of maintaining ongoing two-way dialogue with employees that led me, when I had my shops, to conduct employee reviews on an annual basis. I know some shop owners avoid such reviews because they assume employees will expect increased compensation as part of the process. But before I even sat down with employees, they each would fill out a questionnaire, rating how they think they were meeting the company’s standards for attendance, quantity and quality of work, teamwork, or-

ganization and enthusiasm. It asked them to rate their supervisor, and how they are treated by coworkers. It asked them what they feel they need to improve, what their specific goals were for the coming year, and how we could help them meet those goals. And it asked specifically about pay, including this important follow-up question: What would you be willing to do to make more money this year? This helped emphasize they have to take a role in increasing their income, not just come into the review expecting a raise. I would look over their responses and their employee file before I met with them. And I came into the review with an agenda. First item on that agenda: Ensuring we had their current home address and phone number(s), that their emergency contact information

was correct and that their insurance needs hadn’t changed, maybe because of a change in dependents or because they were now covered under a spouse’s plan. We also collected information on their birthday, wedding anniversary and kids’ birthdays so we could note those events throughout the year. Next, we worked through their responses to the questionnaire. The beauty of the self-review is it’s a lot less uncomfortable than having to bring up the fact an employee, for example, is often late for work. That employee will often acknowledge on the form he’s not meeting the shop’s expectations for attendance. So rather than dwell on the problem, you can immediately move into discussing why it’s occurring and what can be done about it. That was far more effective than a heat-

Garden Grove Kia

ed discussion about it at some time when I was angry and they were defensive. If they listed areas of their performance that need improvement, we discussed what tools or training they needed to help them do that. I’ve always felt it’s the business owner’s responsibility to give employees what they need to success in the business. So reviews are a chance for open dialogue about how you can help them improve their performance. That also helped us map out employee training for the coming year, to ensure we got them the classes they needed with the least disruption to production. During the reviews, we’d also discuss the areas in which they were excelling, giving them some “attaboys” and positive reinforcement. See Two-Way Dialogue, Page 34

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ge 34

with Erica Schroeder

Industry Insight

—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.

with John Yoswick

Panel Reviews Why OEM Repair Procedure Legislation Has Mostly Failed to Be Enacted

Shop Showcase

With more than a dozen states pro- even more if any of these pieces of posing legislation over the past three legislation get passed.” Panelist Wayne Weikel of the years related to the use of OEM colwith Ed Attanasio lision repair procedures, why have Alliance for Automotive Innovanearly all of them failed to be enact- tion, a trade group representing the ed? That was the question at the heart of a Governmental Committee panel discussion during a recent virtual Collision Industry Conference with Ed Attanasio (CIC) this month. One reason cited: Opposition to the idea of pushing for or requiring the use of OEM procedures from alternative parts industry. “I think the biggest problem we Darrell Amberson said many Minnesota have is there are OEM repair pro- lawmakers’ ties to the insurance industry with Ed Attanasio cedures that very blatantly deny the have made it difficult to even get a hearing in that state for legislation on OEM collision use of aftermarket or recycled orig- repair procedures inal equipment parts,” said panelist Sandy Blalock, executive director automakers that manufacture nearly of the Automotive Recyclers Asso- all the passenger vehicles sold in ciation. “So wewith have Ed veryAttanasio serious the U.S., pointed out in some of the concerns that that would be pushed state legislative efforts, automakers

Social Media for Shops

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“took parts off the table,” by agreeing to legislative language “saying that, notwithstanding what OEM repair procedures may say about parts, you’re supposed to follow the repair procedures.” But Blalock said the OEM position statements remain. “As long as there’s anything out there that is telling people it’s not wise to use [alternative] parts, or that they do not recommend that they be used, this is going to be an issue for us,” she said. “And that’s why you see why compromise on this will be difficult,” Weikel said. “Against all of my members’ views on parts, we tried to focus just on procedures, and even after we’ve done that, we continue to hear objections such as these. I can tell you, our manufacturers are not going to walk away from saying that the best part is a new OEM part.

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That’s just the reality.” The insurance industry also pushed back against proposed state legislation that would require them to pay claims based on OEM repair procedure. Panelist Darrell Amberson of LaMettry’s Collision in Minnesota said his state’s association twice pushed for legislation that would have made it an unfair claims practice for an insurer to refuse payment for a repair procedure called for by an OEM. The first year the bill didn’t even receive a hearing. The association then worked with insurers on some “watered-down” compromise language introduced in 2019, but even then insurers opposed the bill during a hearing. Amberson said the state’s legislature has a high percentage of members who currently work for, or have


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previously worked for, insurance companies, including the committee member most critical at the hearing of the bill’s language. “It didn’t get out of that committee,” Amberson said of the 2019 bill. “It’s been difficult to reason with some entities out there. I’m not saying every insurer is against proper repairs. But there are those out there that frankly are inclined to imply that it’s OK to essentially cut some corners. The phrase ‘case-bycase’ implies you can make a judgement, questioning the repair procedures the manufacturer established.” New Hampshire lawmakers passed OEM repair procedure legislation in 2019, but it was vetoed by Republican Gov. John Sununu, who said the bill “would increase the cost of auto insurance premiums by limiting the ability of insurers to negotiate what is reasonable in the repair process.” Weikel pointed to what he sees as the irony in that argument. “Be that true or not true, by acknowledging that these prices were going to change, he was acknowledging on its face that repairs are not being done the way they should be,” Weikel said. “Because if they are, the price isn’t going to change.” Panelist Jina Petrarca-Karampetsos of the Auto Body Association of Rhode Island said the association successfully passed such OEM procedure legislation there in 2018 after spending “many, many years building momentum.” The association has a history of getting legislation enacted designed to ensure consumers have informa-

tion and choice, she said. That includes an anti-steering bill, a two-tier “Class A” and “Class B” shop designation system, a total loss threshold of 75% that prevents a vehicle with lesser damage from being totaled without consumer consent, and a law that requires consumer consent for use of anything other than OEM parts

applies only “when OEM parts are “They aren’t versed in this,” used.” Petrarca-Karampetsos said. “They “It’s been a major success. And it go to a shop. They expect to have was a compromise,” Petrarca-Karam- their car repaired safely. They expetsos said. pect their insurance companies will Blalock said such compromise is treat them fairly. They’re not aware not out of reach, particularly in states, of the nuances.” like Rhode Island, that have generalShe said the association at one ly viewed used parts as OEM, unless point took a year off from its legislathey were non-OEM origi- tive efforts to meet with insurers in an nally. attempt to find “useful solutions” to isCompromise on an OEM sues of conflict, but there were no such procedure bill in Washing- solutions that the “insurers would imton State earlier in 2019 plement without legislation,” she said. was also “very close,” she “That has been proven here over said. and over,” Petrarca-Karampetsos said. “But I think the biggest Amberson said he agreed that compromise is we need to finding solutions short of legislation stop thinking we have to go would be wonderful, but it’s very hard A virtual panel discussion on OEM repair procedure legispass legislation to protect to accomplish, particularly when it lation included, clockwise from top left, Darrell Amberson, every facet of our business- comes to OEM repair procedures. ASA’s Bob Redding, Jina Petrarca-Karampetsos, Sandy es,” Blalock said. “We need “Who among us are experts on Blalock and Wayne Weikel to stop going to our legis- this to the point that we can claim for vehicles up to four years old. latures and asking them to protect a to be more knowledgeable about the “Knowledge is power, and certain segment of our industry.” proper repair than the vehicle manchoice is power,” Petrarca-KaramPetrarca-Karampetsos said she ufacturer,” Amberson said. “Hence, petsos said. “If you’re doing the right disagreed with the idea that legisla- we as repairers are caught in the thing, giving consumers a choice is tion is not necessary, given consum- middle, and unfortunately have to never going to be a negative in your ers’ lack of awareness and under- pursue legislative solutions to be business.” standing of issues related to insurance able to fix cars properly, to protect The Rhode Island OEM proce- and collision repair. ourselves as well as the consumer.” dure regulation is tied to the parts legislation. It originally prohibited insurance companies from requirStart something special. ing any repairer “to use repair procedures that are not in compliance with the recommendations of the original equipment manufacturer.” But Petrarca-Karampetsos said in a compromise—based on opposition from the non-OEM parts industry— the bill was amended to say the requirement for automaker procedures

Nissan Sentra Recall Ordered for Takata Airbag Inflators by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

A Nissan Sentra Takata airbag recall has been issued for more than 4,500 model year 20022006 Sentra cars with passenger airbags that were previously inspected. However, the Takata airbag inflators weren’t replaced in 3,930 cars in the U.S. and in 656 Sentras in Canada. Those inflators are at risk of exploding even in minor crashes. Nissan dealers will replace

the Takata airbag inflators if necessary. The Takata recall is expected to begin Jan. 5, 2021, but concerned Sentra owners may call 800-867-7669. Nissan’s Takata recall number is PM964. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.


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The Rise of the Electric Vehicles by Gary Ledoux

The following article contains forward looking statements but do not imply endorsement for investment purposes. Other companies, such as Tesla, have firmly established market share and dominant market positions—Ed. “Today, electric vehicles are a disruption in the collision repair world. But it won’t be long before they are mainstream… and the collision repair industry has to be ready,” said Frank Terlep, recognized industry leader and founder and CEO of Auto Techcelerators. During Day 2 of the virtually-conducted November Collision Industry Conference, the Future Disruptions Committee, chaired by Terlep and well-known industry icon Jake Rodenroth, gave a presentation and conducted a panel discussion surrounding electric vehicles and what their advent could mean to the collision repair industry. Given the gravity of the issues electric vehicles present, it is worth revisiting this subject in more depth.

“The future is coming at us with alarming speed,” said Terlep. “In less than 15 years, the UK wants to ban the sales of all except electric cars. In the U.S., California is following the same path.” Rodenroth noted, “It seems like it wasn’t that long ago the industry was all talking about the use of highstrength steel and how to repair it. Then the discussion turned to aluminum and the all-aluminum Ford truck. Then it was ADAS systems and how to do proper post repair calibrations. “Now it’s electric cars. I’m not sure we have all figured out highstrength steel yet and the industry has made several technological leaps since. We all need to come up to speed.” In his CIC presentation, Terlep made note of some of the more dramatic changes that will occur as more and more electric cars enter the U.S. fleet: ■ OE factories and suppliers will change dramatically. Suppliers for internal combustion engine com-

ponents and gasoline fuel systems will be greatly reduced or eliminated. This will eliminate jobs for some while creating many new jobs for new electric drive components. ■ New, technology-based vehicle manufacturers will emerge, like Lucid and Rivian. ■ Conventional dealer-service department business will decline dramatically, as much as 35%, as will services performed by independent mechanical repair facilities. Of course, the attendant parts sales from both dealers and aftermarket will decline and shift focus over time. ■ Repair and diagnostic processes will change dramatically. Following OE repair procedures will be absolutely crucial—not only to perform a proper repair, but to ensure the physical safety of the technician. ■ Vehicle owners will be buying subscriptions for software updates much like they buy extended mechanical warranties today.



■ The number of repair facilities, both mechanical and collision, will decrease as the EV fleet increases due to the knowledge, training and tooling necessary to properly repair these vehicles. Three key electric OE’s to watch, and the three featured in the CIC panel discussion, are Lucid, Rivian and Audi. Lucid Lucid was founded in 2007 under the name Atieva, originally focused on building electric vehicle batteries and

powertrains for other vehicle manufacturers. The company rebranded itself as Lucid Motors in October 2016

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cilision, easand epair

and officially announced its intent to develop an all-electric, high-performance luxury vehicle. The company is supported by several Chinese investors and funding from Saudi Arabia. It’s CTO, Peter Rawlinson, is the former Tesla Model S chief engineer.

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The company’s Lucid Air base model is claimed to have 480 horsepower and a 400-mile projected range, will sell for about $70,000 and is due to arrive in 2022. The top-line Lucid Air Dream boasts a 1,080-horsepower electric motor and a 500-mile projected range, will turn a quarter-mile in under 10 seconds and will carry an almost $162,000 price tag. Its 900volt electric architecture will be the

industry’s fastest-charging vehicle to date, with a rate of 20 miles of travel per minute of charge. Lucid is expected to start delivering vehicles in April of this year. The first U.S. Lucid factory, known as the Lucid AMP-1 (Advanced Manufacturing Plant) located in Casa Grande, AZ, was completed in early December 2020. It will first build the Lucid Air model. The factory’s current iteration will be capable of building 30,000 Air models per year. When the factory is fully completed, it will be capable of producing 400,000 units annually, including a second sedan and an SUV. By comparison, the 1964 ½ and 1965 Mustang saw 435,000 units produced. According to its website, Lucid will use an “aircraft-inspired riveted and bonded monocoque body structure replacing spot welds.” The manufacturer claims this will provide a new “state-of-the-art structural efficiency.” A Lucid representative was not

available to answer specific questions regarding collision repair procedures or training. However, according to its website, Lucid will have a nationwide network of Service Centers, 20 to start in eight major metro locations on both the east and west coasts. Mobile service providers and certified collision repair centers will be linked to Lucid’s centralized customer care group to address anything that cannot be remotely diagnosed and repaired. Described by Rawlinson as a “fusion of art, science and technology,” look for Lucid models on the street by early summer this year. Rivian Rivian, an electric-vehicle start-up company based in California, plans to soon start producing two all-elec-

tric truck models at a plant in Illinois, formerly occupied by Mitsubishi. These will include the R1T pickup, which will be the first to debut, followed closely by the R1S SUV. It is unknown at this point how many the company plans to sell or how they will be sold, be it through a traditional dealership network or some other system. But the big news, to collision repairers, isn’t the number of Rivian vehicle in consumer hands—at least initially. More importantly, Rivian has received major support from tech giant Amazon. In September 2019, Amazon invested $700 million in Rivian, which at that time planned to produce 100,000 all-electric delivery vans for Amazon. Most recently, in September 2020, Amazon invested another undisclosed but believed to be substantial amount of money in Rivian. Rivian has also received funding from Ford Motor Company and T. Rowe Price, the mutual fund company. In cities where Amazon


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has a major presence, especially a distribution center—a quick Google check revealed 76 Amazon distribution centers across 20 states—some collision shop or shops are going to need to keep those trucks running, and cycle time is going to be critical. Amazon has committed to going emission-free by the year 2040, 10 years ahead of the guidelines set forth by the Paris Climate Agreement. Terlep notes, “It won’t be long before shops will need to dedicate a portion of their shop and personnel to electric vehicles. Training and use of proper repair procedures will be crucial.” Rivian representatives were not at liberty to discuss collision repair plans for their products at this time, instead deferring to an announcement in the spring of this year. Audi On deck for the more than 100-yearold company is the Audi e-tron for 2021, the “first electric SUV built with Audi DNA,” with a reported 402 horsepower, able to turn 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds with a 222-mile range. Starting at around $66,000, it features quattro® all-wheel drive. The e-tron also comes in a “Sportback” configuration. Body construction is a combination of steel and aluminum. Audi’s goal is to have one-third of all its vehicles electrified by 2025. The company’s website notes charging an Audi e-tron is as simple as contacting Amazon, who will have a local contractor set up a 120- or 240-volt, 50-amp charging outlet in the owners’ garage. Away from home, there is a growing number of commercial charging stations available. Mark Allen, manager of colli-

Continued from Page 28

Two-Way Dialogue And I’d have information on their total pay for the previous year and the current year to date. If it looked like their wages were moving up or down from the previous year, we’d discuss the reasons and help them understand what they could be doing—as they may have already identified on the questionnaire—to improve their income.

sion, equipment and EV after sales service at Audi of America, was kind enough to answer a few questions.


Audi has been around for 100 years. Is this its first electric vehicle?


Audi has had hybrid electric cars since 2013. The e-tron is a completely new generation of vehicle for us and the first full-electric car.


Will you have a certified network to handle collision repairs on your electric vehicles?


Right now, we have no plans for a certified collision shop network for our electric vehicles. However, we are specifying that any mechanical or especially electrical work related to collision repair be completed by an Audi dealer. They have the training, tools and equipment to repair our electric cars properly and safely. We allow our current Audi Authorized Collison Repairers to do collision repair work on the vehicle, but not battery or any HV electrical repairs. That must be done at the dealer.


What is the most important thing techs need to know before working on an electric vehicle?

will the battery be safely disposed of?


EV batteries must be properly disposed of according to EPA guidelines. Right now, there are two companies in the U.S. that can handle it. I am sure in the future as EV’s proliferate, additional companies will emerge. In our case, the batteries we use are modular, so if one section is damaged or goes bad, it may be possible to replace only that module.

Q: A: Q:

Will you have parts restrictions for EV parts? Yes, on structural and electrical components.

What kind of personal protection clothing will technicians need to wear to work on your EV?


Depending on the work being done, a complete protective suit consists of a helmet with integrated special arc flash protection face shield, balaclava hood, arc flash protection jacket or lab coat, overpants, and three pairs of gloves

including an inner cotton glove covered by an insulated rubber glove, covered by a leather glove. The outfit is completed by electric hazard-rated work boots. Note: Audi recently announced a twoglove combination now available. Vehicle Charging Made Easy One of the drawbacks to electric-only vehicles has always been travel range. Depending on the vehicle, battery used and road and other environmental conditions, EVs can travel 200 to 500 miles on a single charge. Unlike internal combustion cars that can be refueled at the ubiquitous gas station, EVs must be charged at home or at outlets provided by companies like Electrify America, one of the largest public electric vehicle DC fast-charging networks in the U.S., with more than 500 charging locations totaling more than 2,200 individual charging units as of 2020. Considering that before an infrastructure of gas stations was built, gasoline for very early cars was sold in one-gallon cans at hardware stores, this is the electric equivalent.



Before touching our EV, or any EV, it’s important that repairers first look at repair procedures and safety precautions. Repairers can be seriously hurt, or worse, if they don’t follow proper procedures.


K n o w l e d g e a b l e S t a ff

What will happen with a collision-totaled vehicle? How

Lastly, the reviews were their opportunity to tell me what they felt the company was doing right, and what they’d like to see changed and why. I would always compile employee suggestions during reviews and follow up, explaining which we were implementing and which we weren’t, and why. So rather than just a time to talk about pay, I found employee reviews a rewarding way to maintain open dialogue that helped everyone—and the company—improve.

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Objections to Payment and Requested Procedures Outlined in SCRS Class by Ed Attanasio

Let’s imagine you’re getting surgery and right before they put you under anesthesia, they tell you your heart replacement is an unnecessary procedure, or they want to save money by installing an aftermarket one.

AkzoNobel Small Business Consultant Tim Ronak presented “Overcoming Objections to Payment and Requested Procedures” as part of the SCRS 2020 Repair Driven Educational Series presented at SEMA360

What would you do other than scream at the system, desperately try to renegotiate or ask the surgeon to double up on the anesthesia? This is similar to the unending tug-of-war between body shops and insurance companies over what the latter is willing to pay for repairs. In many cases, the relationship works well and seamlessly, while others go sideways and end up being a bad experience for both parties involved. It doesn’t matter if you’re a DRP shop or not—they will grind you at every turn anyway, and if you’re not prepared, they can hamstring your business in more ways than one. AkzoNobel Small Business Consultant Tim Ronak presented “Overcoming Objections to Payment and Requested Procedures” as part of the SCRS 2020 Repair Driven Educational Series presented at SEMA360. Many shops nationwide are having issues getting OE repair procedures approved, or persuading insurance companies to reimburse for certain repairs when they submit their bills and estimates. Through a series of roundtable discussions with shop owners and managers, Ronak has been able to devise some strategies to address these issues and how they can be resolved. If you’ve been in the collision

repair industry for even a short time, you’ve undoubtedly heard these lines more than once—the leading 14 excuses any shop can encounter: “We don’t pay for that.” “This is the cost of doing business.” “That’s part of the job.” “It’s the market rate in your area.” “That’s not a competitive rate in your market.” If those don’t float your boat or persuade you in any way, it’s time for their Plan B: “Sorry, but the prevailing rate in your area is [fill in the blank.] So, we cannot pay more.” “We can add some extra time on something else to cover the difference.” “No other shops in your area are asking for that amount.” “These rates are too high.” (Meaning a prevailing rate does exist.) “This is a four-hour repair, not a six-hour repair.” “We pay for aftermarket and used parts only.” “You don’t need to perform that procedure.” “The OEM repair information does not say ‘required;’ it says ‘recommended’ or ‘suggested.’ Since they do not ‘require’ the operation, we will not pay for it.” And finally, after all of the wrestling doesn’t work, the insurer might say, “Please accept our non-DRP rate.” Shops run into all of these “reasons”—excuses—often, when all they want to do is return the car to its 100% pre-accident condition without compromising safety and functionality, Ronak said. Insurers will wrestle with collision repairers customarily about things such as scanning procedures, pre-fit on a quarter panel before it’s installed, or a road test at the completion of the repair, now called a “dynamic systems verification,” Ronak said. Ronak developed a comprehensive list of General Objection Categories. One of the main objections is rates, and the problem is many shops are unable to make their case when

negotiating rates with the insurer. Without enough substantiated proof, the insurance company will win almost every time, Ronak said. Challenging the asserted rate assumes you have done your own research to dispute it, Ronak explained. Use of any contracted or DRP rates in the calculation of “prevailing market rate” could be a violation of the Sherman Act, and could be described as purchaser price fixing, which is illegal and a federal offense. If an insurance company has negotiated a certain rate with one shop and then uses that negotiated rate when calculating an average rate for a market, it has “bought down” the market rate and may be an unfair trade practice. To determine the rates, shops are familiar with labor rate surveys provided by the insurers with zero oversight. “They provide a survey that can’t be edited,” Ronak said. “They tell you that this is how much you should accept because they think it’s fair. They pick the shops to use

and then determine how much they will pay in each market. The question here is—should you really trust someone who owes you money to tell you how much they owe you or do you need to verify that?” For shops to successfully challenge rates, they will need to prove the prevailing rates provided by the insurance companies are inaccurate, outdated or unfair. In summary, it’s the shop’s obligation to make a case every time when an insurer tries to cut its rates or coerce it to perform an inferior repair and compromise quality. Being proactive is key. Do your own labor rate surveys and back them up with the proper documentation. Be prepared for the insurer’s talking track and be ready to respond promptly and definitively. Develop a plan and a strategy and make sure anyone dealing with the insurance companies is on the same page. Ronak grew up in the collision repair industry beginning at age 14 working within his family’s busiSee Objections to Payment Page 40

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with Ed Attanasio

Shop Strategies

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

with Stacey Phillips

COVID Edition: Collision Repair Owner and Entrepreneur Develops Technology Claims SolutionBody for Industry Shops Giving Back organization where people can show Bill Park, co-founder board memwithand Stacey Phillips ber of Spartan Ventures, said his back- up and do their best work. I want to ground is rooted in the auto body re- be an integral part of creating the oppair trade. portunity for people to really enjoy While growing up, Park’s father being productive, serving others and told him if he wanted to drive some- challenging themselves to become a thing nice someday, he would have better version of themselves. with Stacey Phillips “I believe people live a hapto “figure it out.” After painting his first vehicle pier life when they are productive when he was 14 years old, he realized and have a voice in their day-to-day he had found a hobby. He attended work.” His vision for Spartan Ventures the University of Arizona to become an orthopedic surgeon and repaired is to create global businesses withand painted cars at night. After grad- in the automotive collision and hail with Stacey Phillips uating with a bachelor’s degree in repair industry. The companies inmolecular and cellular biology and clude AXIOM Collision Repair in minoring in math, he couldn’t find the U.S., AXIOM accident repair a job. A doctor told Park he felt his centres in the UK, The 300 Advantage, PDR Mobile Solutions and passion lay elsewhere. “That was a wake-up call and I The Claims Bridge International. I recently talked to the entrepredecided to open a body shop,” said with Antonelli neur about how he has operated his Park. “What drives me Victoria is creating an

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astrophic auto hail claims and find a better way of handling these events for customers. We recently developed a technology solution for the industry.


What were your biggest challenges this year operating a national repair network during the pandemic?

digital/virtual perspective, this will allow our businesses to prosper and leverage technology solutions to improve the customer experience. Lastly, insurers had so many different requirements due to COVID-19 it was difficult to deliver what they needed, especially in the format they wanted. It was very


It has been a difficult year for everyone. I’m appreciative of all of our employees, colleagues and customers across the U.S. for soldiering through 2020 and showing amazing resilience in a year that has seen the most significant economic disruption of our lifetimes. The No. 1 challenge for us was access to customers and their vehicles to properly assess hail and/ or crash damage. The fear factor of COVID-19 had a massive impact on when customers would file and/ or take action to settle their claim. People just didn’t leave their homes unless it was absolutely necessary. The silver lining here is that consumers are more engaged with self-serve options. With the consumer being more involved from a

Continued from Page 36

Objections to Payment ness in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At 17, he became the youngest interprovincially-certified auto body technician in Canada. In 1993, Ronak began working for the Canadian Federal Government, administering and developing advanced training programs for the automotive industry within Alberta that led to a management position with a large GM dealer in Calgary. Fifteen years ago, Ronak joined AkzoNobel and has since developed numerous seminars focused on operational improvements in the collision center. Over his 25 years with AkzoNobel, he has helped more than 1,000 collision repair businesses improve their overall operational performance.


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challenging and no doubt frustrating for customers, and I feel that drove cost higher. COVID may have stopped many things, but not accidents and hail storms! The silver lining is insurers are becoming open-minded and willing to interact with their insureds and repairers in a digital environment. It’s not an easy leap, but a necessary one

ASE Registration Open ASE winter registration is now open through March 31. More than 50 ASE certification tests are available. Those registering will have 90 days to schedule an appointment to take the selected ASE tests, whether registering on the first day of the registration period or the last. ASE tests are conducted days, nights and weekends at nearly 450 secured, proctored test centers. A $34 registration fee is added to every order, no matter how many tests are purchased. Tests are $47 each, except L1, L2 and L3, which are $94 each. As an added benefit, ASE caps the cost of tests taken at $141, so the most anyone would pay to recertify in a single registration window is $175, no matter how many recertification tests are taken. For more information and to register for ASE certification testing, visit www.ase.com/register-now. Source: ASE

that will drive future interactions.

the industry?

Q: A:


How have you overcome these challenges?

Overcoming customer fear was outside our span of control; however, we offered a contactless digital assessment tool that the vehicle owner could use to triage the damage. We also provided a variety of additional contact-free services, as well as a concierge service. Our goal was to provide a level of peace of mind with customers, so they would feel their well-being was top of mind. The biggest challenge with insurers was providing the proper documentation to support the damage on the vehicle in this new norm. Photos and video were some options used, but this was all very difficult to process and time-consuming.

I believe the pandemic’s challenges have fostered more collaboration and people’s mindsets are becoming more focused on solving problems rather than hoarding solutions. As a result, barriers will come down, insurtech solutions will grow, and innovation will be top of mind. Fortunately, we have access to estimating platforms that can link the entire supply chain, but can only be used by people outside of the insurers’ legacy systems. This puts unnecessary constraints on the entire ecosystem. The industry norms, legacy systems and proprietary platforms often mean insurers are not taking advantage of the latest technology. However, COVID-19 has encouraged many insurers to reassess the role technology can play and I am sure 2021 will see insurers partner to accelerate their digital transformation.



How is COVID-19 driving more collaboration and innovative technology solutions across

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During the pandemic, we looked at ways to engage the claims process and the insureds’ needs through a virtual, contact-free experience. As a business owner, one of my priorities is to look for technology that can bring speed and ease of settlement for the customer. I partnered with an international team, The Claims Bridge International, to develop an end-to-end digital solution for managing hail claims and repairs called EziClaims Suite.


What are some of the highlights of EziClaims Suite and how will it help the claims process?


Imagine 180,000 claims being filed from a hail event in a matter of a few days. When you think about the number of people impacted by a hail storm, it’s not surprising that the claims system and repairer networks get overwhelmed quickly. EziClaims Suite was designed to solve that problem by providing the customer an instant link to a web-enabled app where they can initiate a claim and document the damage. This provides the vehicle owner with an im-

mediate solution to resolve the claim, and it provides the insurance company with the data necessary to assess the overall severity of the storm. This is an imperative step to properly allocate the resources necessary to serve customers. The Claims Bridge provides access to a national paintless dent repair

leaders act soon. Contactless and virtual solutions will need to be an integral part of serving the customer; if not, it could be a real disaster from a customer experience standpoint. People are ready to self-serve and the industry needs to accept that and stop saying, “We don’t do it that

“I believe people live a happier life when they are productive and have a voice in their dayto-day work.” — Bill Park (PDR) network that can reduce the wait time for repairs. It’s not uncommon for customers to wait eight to 12 months to get their cars repaired. The expanded repair network will reduce the wait time considerably, which will improve overall customer satisfaction.


What are your views on 2021 from a business perspective and the ongoing impact of COVID-19 in the U.S.?


I think 2021 will be very similar to 2020, unless industry

way” or “It can’t be done that way” or “Put your statement here.” Looking ahead, I feel optimistic about 2021. We will be prepared to serve our customers both virtually and in person. The expectations around the pandemic are in place across the country and there is a tremendous amount of effort being put forth to enhance the customer experience.


2021 can be the year of innovation to be sure, and the collision repairers who figure that out will reap the benefits long into the future. My only fear is that organizations will be too afraid to be bold. My advice is to “Never let a good crisis go to waste” (Churchillism.) There has never been a more perfect time for a digital shift than today. I’m 100% confident we can figure this out, and the benefits will be huge across the entire ecosystem. Those who believe it can be done will get it done. Think of Netflix and Blockbuster. Blockbuster could have owned Netflix for $50 million, but they didn’t have the vision or courage. The rest is history.




In light of the current challenges, what is your advice to business leaders?

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I-CAR Enhances Curriculum for 2021 to Meet Future Industry Needs ultimate benefit of consumers. Meanwhile, the coronavirus broke With the rapid changes taking place out. Our principal focus was to ensure in vehicle technology, training is the safety of our customers, instructors an important investment that will and employees. Like others, we had to help every business thrive, accord- pivot on a dime. ing to John Van Alstyne, CEO of We made some adjustments to I-CAR (Inter-Industry Conference how we delivered training and with of Auto Collision Repair). our credentialing programs. Our “If you think about it industry relief program ofin the context of critical fered credentialing grace repairs to vehicles and conperiods and deferrals, as sumer safety, it’s an essenwell as financial assistance. tial component to business We could not send insurvival,” said Van Alstyne. structors out into the field “If you aren’t educated on until early June, when they repair fundamentals, in- John Van Alstyne, again began visiting shops to cluding new repair methods conduct welding and skillsCEO of I-CAR and skills that are prevalent based training. That ramped today, what a particular OEM’s re- up during the summer and acceleratpair strategy is, how they designed ed in the fall of 2020. and built that vehicle, what the OEM As we approached the end of procedures are for repair, and know 2020 and there were spikes in COVID how to apply those methodologies, cases across the country, we moniyou will undoubtedly have a prob- tored all of the state rules and restriclem.” tions every day. As new information becomes available, we review our delivery policies and procedures to help ensure we keep instructors and customers as safe as reasonably possible while still meeting their training needs. It’s a balancing act trying to do the right thing following the government’s policies. Given the disrupI recently had the opportunity to talk tion that COVID has brought everyto Van Alstyne about I-CAR’s on- body, we have been able to navigate going initiatives to meet the indus- this challenging environment pretty try’s needs and ensure vehicles are well. repaired correctly. What prompted the changes Can you share some of to I-CAR’s curriculum? I-CAR’s milestones during 2020 amidst the coronavirus panThe changes were driven by demic? extensive industry feedback and input, as well as benchmarking 2020 has been quite a year for of OEM and other best-in-class edueverybody—from an overall cators. They were based on the need business perspective as well as per- to deliver even more accessible and sonally, socially and politically. relevant training, while also ensurI-CAR started the year tran- ing related credentialing is relevant sitioning into our new curriculum for today’s repair challenges and for and credentialing updates that were repair facilities of various sizes from part of the “Even Better I-CAR” a technician count perspective. program launched in October 2019. The program changes have been Both work together to raise the well-embraced by industry partners knowledge and skills bar to meet the who rely on I-CAR to achieve Gold industry’s rapidly changing needs Class status. These include OEMs and utilize more sophisticated tech- that require shops to be Gold Class nology to help shops perform com- to qualify for their repair networks plete, safe and quality repairs for the and insurers that require Gold Class by Stacey Phillips


Q: A:


to be part of their DRPs. We have close working relationships with OEMs and that continues to expand and grow. Our goal is to continue delivering the latest repair knowledge and training to every collision repair technician.


How is I-CAR preparing for 2021 and what can the industry expect?


2021 is a big year for us. After launching the changes associated with “Even Better I-CAR,” we put a transition plan in place for our existing Platinum individual designation and Gold Class recognition for collision repair and insurance businesses. That transition will advance in 2021 and details are available on the I-CAR homepage. One of the major changes is the enhanced Gold Class credentialing requirements are scaled by role to shop size. This means 50% of all estimators, refinishers and non-structural technicians in a shop and 100% of all structural technicians must be trained

in the new Gold Class requirements. This scalability ensures both small and large shops can achieve an equal percentage of trained employees. Shops new to I-CAR must meet these requirements now in order to qualify as Gold Class, whereas existing Gold Class shops must step up to the new scaling requirement in 2021. We’re also advancing our training related to ADAS. We already launched a new role, the electrical and diagnostics technician, which includes ADAS knowledge areas. We also introduced a number of new related ADAS classes in 2019, and implemented a shop-level knowledge requirement regarding ADAS for Gold Class achievement. Based on findings from the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) committees and other research, we will continue to add to the ADAS curriculum and work closely with the industry to meet future needs. I expect we will ultimately end up with a more specific role around ADAS like we have with structural refinish and See Future Industry Needs, Page 46

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Tim Morgan Rescues Pits and Pursues Politics My father used to tell me there are pups. That started everything and two types of people in the world— led to Second Chance Ranch.” drivers and passengers, participants Now the ranch has three pits Wickert and observers, with those Gary who do and on-site in addition to Daisy—Spike, those who don’t. Some folks lead Tank and Nacho. naturally and others are more than content to watch from the sidelines. Tim Morgan, COO at Spanesi Americas, is undoubtedly a serious driver when it comes to his life, both personal and professional. with Stacey Phillips When Morgan sees any type of injustice or someone in need, he acts quickly and definitively. Several factors in his life recently have led directly to his newest passions—pit bulls and local politics. withinStacey Phillips Morgan’s career the collision Morgan is giving pit bulls a second chance and repair industry spans 44 years as a taking a shot at local political office by running technician, dealership body shop for trustee in the Village of Campton Hills, manager, collision repair facility where he lives owner, educator and director of collision repair at a nationally accrediThree years ago, Morgan’s olted technical college. dest daughter, Samantha, produced with Stacey Phillips Twenty years ago, Morgan re- a short video, “The Beginning of directed his career when he began Our Journey,” as part of her junior working for companies focusing on high school English class, using lothe distribution of structural repair cal news clips and other footage to equipment, holding positions as a illustrate the problem. In the film, trainer, sales director, general mana- Daisy is adopted by the Morgan fager and managing director. mily and becomes an integral part of with Stacey Phillips For the past eight years, he has their lives. been the COO for Spanesi AmeriThere›s a lot of misinformation cas, a subsidiary of Spanesi SpA in out there about pit bulls, so MorPadova, Italy, that designs, develops gan began using Daisy to show the and manufactures an entire range of world the truth about the breed. body shop equipment. “Whenever someone gets bit, withSecond Stacey Phillips Morgan began Chance the media latches on to it and won’t Ranch, a nonprofit pet rescue orga- let go,” he said. “It’s hard to dispel nization back in 2018, when he wit- that, but from my experience, this nessed pit prejudice and felt it was is one of the gentlest breeds you’ll just a bunch of bull, he said. ever encounter. Pit bulls can fight if He purchased a 3-acre farm they are trained to do so, but in the and converted his barnVictoria into a kennel end, all they want to do is please with Antonelli that can accommodate four dogs at their owners. I tell people that the a time. The conversion is complete only time Daisy barks is when she and the kennels are simply awaiting wants to jump up on the bed and final inspection, delayed due to the sleep with us. pandemic. “We are committed to helping A beautiful black and white pit our animals,” Morgan said. “Seeing with Victoria Antonelli bull came into the life of Penny, a need for an energetic, nonprofit to Tim’s wife, before she met Tim. support our community’s pit bull “A family friend decided to population, we formed our organibring the girls home the runt of the zation to provide sensible solutions. litter,” he said. “She was so tiny and We take our convictions and turn a little beaten up from the rest of the them into action.

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“Sometimes our connections can find a home for a pet before the animal needs to change housing. We currently have a rescue that will allow our babies to venture in and out to over 3 acres while protecting them from the elements and giving each one their own independent space, while additionally giving us indoor space for training and support of our furry friends.” Saving dogs’ lives is a passion but it’s also a job. Whenever Morgan and his family take on any pit bull, they make certain to lead with care, concern and proper training. It can also add up financially, with visits to the vet to make sure they are current on their boosters and medications. “Members and volunteers provide the momentum that helps us do good work,” he said. “Using community-driven models, we take

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actions that make a long-lasting difference.” In his second endeavor, Morgan is running for trustee in the Village of Campton Hills, IL, as a write-in candidate for an election on Feb. 23. His message is clear and concise. “I will support the community, not a personal agenda,” he said. “We need someone who will listen and support your ideas, fight for the needs of your community and earn your respect. For someone who truly cares for your community, look no further. “Moving to Village of Campton Hills had a journey within itself, but it’s safe to say the area brought me and my family joy to have a small piece of the American dream, and not be lost in an overdeveloped community development.” Once he jumped into the fray, Morgan saw running for office in this

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tight-knit community wasn’t going to be easy, and the fact the town’s offices were closed for COVID protection surely didn’t help. By the time he navigated through all of the proper documentation required to run, the deadline was past, so he had to enter as a write-in

Daisy was the first pit bull the Morgan family saved and is still a big part of the family. They use her as a spokesdog and in the ranch’s logo

candidate. It also triggered a primary election because previously the current trustees were the only candidates for the office. Problems with zoning and other issues motivated Morgan to run for office. “When I moved there, I began

to look at the community, and in September of 2019, the township tried to rezone my property and several others to residential without even having a public meeting,” Morgan said. “That’s when I could see that there needed some new blood and I felt as though I could use my background and experience to help.” Morgan reaches out to help the community in many other ways, by helping families in need with gift cards, working with the Adopt-AHighway Program, and assisting the local community in getting a K-9 officer for law enforcement. While many people wait for their lives to change, Morgan makes things happen, and helping both animals and people will always be on the top of his list. “There are new challenges all the time and as we get through this pandemic, there will be more,” he said. Saving pit bulls and playing a leadership role in his community are Morgan’s passions. What are yours? If you’re interested in supporting the Second Chance Ranch through a donation, visit the website at www.2ndchanceranch.dog


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asTech Acquires BlueDriver Repairify, Inc. d/b/a asTech, a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, LLC, announced Jan. 12 the acquisition of Root Four Imagination Inc.’s BlueDriver. BlueDriver is a leading provider of direct-to-consumer aftermarket diagnostic scan tools and services, representing the ninth add-on acquisition for asTech and Kinderhook’s 99th automotive-related transaction. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The BlueDriver diagnostic tool is able to match a vehicle’s make, model and trouble code to a specific fix from a repair database that has been verified by professional automotive technicians. Once the proper fix is identified, customers can seamlessly order parts online within the BlueDriver application along with clearing diagnostic trouble codes upon completion of the repair. Source: Kinderhook Industries

Continued from Page 24

Stands ‘UNIT3D’ corporate ops leaders, Store Manager Jessica Delgado CSI: Fix Auto Modesto-City Center, Modesto, CA, owned by Krish Chand At the close of the event, Dean Fisher, president of the Driven Brands Collision Group, shared some final thoughts as the group looks ahead to moving forward together for a successful 2021. “Through what has been a year like no other, these franchise partners have risen above to consistently outperform in operations, customer experience and community engagement,” said Fisher. “We’re proud to recognize their accomplishments. They are truly role models for our Driven Brands family and the collision repair industry.” For more information about Driven Brands, visit https://www. drivenbrands.com/. Social media tags: @FixAutoUSA, @CARSTAR, @CARSTARCanada

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Continued from Page 42

Future Industry Needs estimator. Electric vehicles are a big deal as well. We already have some initial offerings we have built in collaboration with OEMs, and we’re looking to advance that work in 2021. Each OEM has its specific requirements for every vehicle model. It’s important for technicians to have the fundamentals and know-how to apply them in a vehicle-specific manner.

Q: A:

What is the importance of collaboration?

Formed in 1979, I-CAR by its core DNA is built on a collaboration model across the six segments of the collision repair inter-industry we are designed to serve in a neutral, unbiased manner: repairers, OEMs, insurers, service providers, suppliers and educators. Collaboration is really central to everything we do. If you look at the I-CAR board and governance model, there are representatives from all six

segments on our board. One of our five core values is “collaboration”—to collaborate effectively inside and outside of I-CAR. As a result, much of the training and credentialing we do is in partnership with other organizations, and thus we make a great effort to coordinate such. It’s important to know we don’t act in a vacuum. Everything we do comes back to collaboration, which is part and parcel of how we go about developing and enhancing our programming, training and related services. We work with the industry to ensure we understand our stakeholders’ needs and what is relevant.


Congratulations on your 10th anniversary with I-CAR. What are some changes you’ve seen over the years?


It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years—it seems like yesterday. Over the last decade, I-CAR has evolved tremendously. The I-CAR mission is “to deliver increasingly accessible, on-demand and relevant education, knowledge, services and solutions for the colli-

sion repair inter-industry.” That’s exactly what we have been working on for the last 10 years every single day. We have a much broader portfolio of classes to offer. We have continued to grow our online presence to meet the needs of stakeholders. For example, we launched 264 new courses in the Q4 of 2019. We now offer more skills-based training, building off our core welding programs, and cover a broader range, including MIG brazing, spot welding, rivet bonding, etc. When I started with the organization, we had one insurer—Allstate—that required Gold Class designation. Today, we have 36 brands that require it, including both insurers and most OEMs. In terms of collision repair shops, the number of Gold Class shops has quadrupled. In 2012, we had 2,661 Gold Class shops, and there were 8,359 by year-end 2019. We expected to end 2020 near 9,000 Gold Class shops, or nearly 25% of the industry. Our Sustaining Partner program didn’t exist even three years ago. Now, we have 38 sustaining partners. We’ve also added programs such as

the I-CAR Repairability Technical Support (RTS) Portal and Ask I-CAR that rolled out in 2014. We are proud to say that over the past 12 months we had over 80,000 active users of the I-CAR learning management system who completed 818,000 courses. However, we still have more to do. We have not yet achieved our vision, which is to ensure “that every person in the collision repair industry has the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer.” That’s why we exist and our true north. Everything we do is centered on meeting the needs of the industry to ensure cars are repaired correctly.




Auto Insurance Rates Decreasing in 2021 for the First Time in a Decade Auto insurance rates have fallen for the first time in over a decade, decreasing by 1.7% across the U.S. for 2021, according to ValuePenguin. com’s State of Auto Insurance in 2021 report published Jan. 7. The rate decrease in 2021 is an anomaly caused by fewer Americans driving in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer driv-

ers on the road and a steep reduction in claims brings the average cost of Auto Insurance in 2021 to $1,636. Key findings: Auto insurance rates have fallen for the first time in over a decade, decreasing by 1.7% across the U.S. for 2021. The biggest year-overyear rate decrease in auto insurance rates are in Arkansas (4.8%), Ohio (4.3%) and Michigan (4.3%). Five states will see marginal

increases, including New York by 1.2% and Indiana by 1.1%, despite a decrease in the national average. The average cost of car insurance in 2021 is $1,636: Drivers who reside in Maine, North Carolina and Indiana have the lowest auto insurance rates—40% cheaper than the national average. However, auto insurance rates in Michigan retained its spot as most expensive, and are 353% higher than the national average. Florida and Rhode Island ranked second and third most expensive. A traffic violation will lead to an average premium increase of 117% in 2021: North Carolina drivers will see the biggest increase in premiums (255%) due to a traffic violation. Florida auto insurance companies are the most forgiving, increasing premiums by just 55% on average. Individuals with DUI violations will see their premiums increase by 157% on average in 2021, and minor violations, such as a failure to obey traffic signs, will also see insurance premiums rise 28%.

Auto insurance premiums are 106% more expensive when compared to a decade ago. While 2021 sees its first drop in auto insurance premiums in a decade, rates are significantly higher than what Americans paid a decade ago, and rates have increased every year since 2011. Rates will rebound in 2022— as Americans get back to normal, auto insurance rates will rise again. The increase in distracted driving and more expensive claims from smart technology in vehicles will continue to drive rate increases. According to Sterling Price, auto insurance expert at ValuePenguin.com, “Car insurance can be a difficult and time-consuming topic to understand. This report attempts to unmask some of these key issues and uncover ways Americans can save more money. “Our analysis shows that premiums can vary by 242% between the largest insurance companies, so you can save a lot by comparing quotes. Switching your car insurance from full to minimum coverage could see your premiums reduce 155%, and improving your

credit score could decrease your auto insurance premiums by as much as 70%.” ValuePenguin.com analysts analyzed 15 million auto insurance quotes for drivers across the country from the Quadrant Information Services database. These, combined with RateWatch filings, were used to illustrate the current and historical overview of the auto insurance industry. Analysts used a 30-year-old male who drove a 2015 Honda Civic EX as a sample driver for this analysis, and quotes were drawn from all available ZIP codes across the U.S. To view the full report, visit: https://www.valuepenguin.com/ state -of-auto-insurance-2021 Source: ValuePenguin


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ASE Entry-Level Certification Helps Shops Ensure New Talent is Actually Talented by Chasidy Rae Sisk

It’s no secret one of the largest challenges facing the collision repair industry is the need to find qualified entry-level technicians. During ASA’s monthly Webinar Wednesday on Dec. 9, John Saia, consultant to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), discussed how “ASE Entry-Level Certification Helps Shop Owners Find New Talent,” by allowing entry-level candidates demonstrate their knowledge so shops can identify which are best qualified. ASE’s entry-level certification is the first professional credential available for new technicians. Unlike ASE’s other certification levels, the entry-level certification does not have a work experience requirement since inexperienced students do not yet possess on-the-job abilities; it’s intended as a way for students enrolled in a technical training program to indicate their workforce readiness. “There’s not a shortage of candidates,” Saia explained. “Based on

student enrollment numbers, there’s a huge level of interest in an automotive career, but the pipeline leaks before they enter the workforce. The ASE entry-level certification provides a way for shop owners and managers to identify the students who are serious about their future in this industry.” For employers and students, the ASE entry-level tests provide a credential that indicates workforce readiness and demonstrates their commitment to a career in the industry. Students’ previous performance is also a great predictor of their future performance, and this test serves as a predictable gauge for their success with ASE professional-level certification once they’ve obtained workplace experience. Saia offered advice to students: “Take the entry-level test seriously. It prepares you for your career, and it is an excellent experience that grooms you to be much more successful for professional-level ASE certifications. You’ll feel more comfortable taking the tests in the future.”

Dealership Buy/Sell Market on Pace for New Record by Auto Remarketing Staff Here’s potentially a positive record on pace to be set during this tumultuous year. Kerrigan Advisors reported Dec. 14 that the dealership buy/sell market continued to soar during the third quarter, putting it on track to surpass record transaction numbers established in 2015. And with a flurry of mega dealer transactions and high dealership earnings, the firm’s Third Quarter 2020 Blue Sky Report also highlighted that blue-sky values shot to unprecedented levels during the quarter, too. “As we predicted, there was no softening of this record-breaking market,” Erin Kerrigan, Kerrigan Advisors founder and managing director, said in a news release. “A 94% year-over-year rise in dealership earnings in Q3 was driven by higher vehicle gross profit margins, reduced operating expenses, limited inventory (which drove up prices) and increased operational efficiency,” Kerrigan continued. “This created a perfect storm for a white-hot buy/sell environment, one that we predict will surpasses

the historic levels of 2015.” Kerrigan Advisors indicated 73 dealership buy/sell transactions were completed during Q3, pushing the total to 186 transactions for the first nine months of the year. That figure represents a 15.5% increase above the amount recorded during the first nine months of 2019, according to data from The Banks Report, Automotive News and Kerrigan Advisors’ research. Despite periods of retail disruption due to COVID-19, Kerrigan pointed out that 2020 thus far has achieved the highest level of transaction activity since 2015. “Of particular note were the high numbers of multi-dealership transactions completed in Q3, including mega dealer transactions, representing 25% of the buy/sell market for the first nine months of the year. We expect this trend to continue into 2021,” said Kerrigan, whose firm advised on the sale of 22 dealerships during the past quarter. According to the Blue Sky Report, public and private dealership valuations exceeded prior highs. We thank Auto Remarketing for reprint permission.

ASE offers three entry-level series test groups: automotive, collision and medium/heavy trucks. Four tests are offered in the Collision Repair & Refinish series: Painting and Refinishing, Structural Analysis and Damage Repair, Non-Structural Analysis and Damage Repair, and Mechanical and Electrical. Saia shared examples of some of the tasks and specifications associated with the various tests. The tests are proctored at the school by non-technical staff, and more than 1,400 schools administer more than 200,000 entry-level tests annually, with a pass rate that exceeds 50%. Generally, the schools pay for the tests, which they use to evaluate students’ progress and growth in learning, and the test is an excellent metric for the program’s success, according to Saia. Students can attempt any test in a series up to twice per school year, but they must wait at least 30 days to re-test after their initial attempt. The school awards certificates to the students who successfully


pass the entry-level test. ASE’s entry-level certification test questions are reviewed every two to three years by up to 20 subject matter experts, 40% of whom are working practitioners. Facilitated by ASE technical staff, the entry-level test workshop follows the same process as all other ASE test question development workshops. “It’s a stout test; it’s very comprehensive,” Saia said. The entry-level certification expires after two years, and recipients are not eligible for recertification because, by that point, they should have progressed to the professional-level certification that designates them as an experienced working technician. Learn more about ASE’s entry-level certification at ase.com/ entry-level. Registration for ASA’s future Webinar Wednesday series is available at asashop.org/webinars.


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IGONC Tireside Chat: Setting Your Business Goals for 2021 by Chasidy Rae Sisk

Preparing for the new year is important for all collision repair business owners, and during a Dec. 15 Tireside Chat, the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) discussed “Setting Your Business Goals for 2021.”

IGONC members gathered virtually to discuss their shops’ 2021 business goals. Credit: Courtesy of IGONC

According to IGONC Executive Director Tricia Sauls, “The turnout was good, considering it’s close to the holidays and everyone is experiencing a little Zoom fatigue. Planning for the new year is an important part

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of creating a successful path for shop owners. “We had an informative discussion that flowed well. From the feedback we received, it was very encouraging and supportive to our members,” Sauls continued. “I am really excited about this format where we just offer time and space for shop owners to decompress and talk to each other without any structure or presentations involved.” IGONC holds its monthly Tireside Chats as a way of building the association’s community by allowing members and others industry professionals to network and share ideas. “Being able to keep the connection between people in our industry is crucial right now,” Sauls emphasized. “We cannot take time off on training just because of the shutdowns that are happening. By continuing to host events, even online, we can continue to support each other and keep the exchange of ideas flowing.”




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COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Begins After Pfizer Receives Emergency Use Authorization by Dan McCaleb, The Center Square Distribution of a new COVID-19 vaccine is now underway after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late Dec. 11 granted emergency use authorization for the serum. Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine is the first to receive the authorization and vaccinations were expected to begin as soon as the following weekend. “With this authorization, we know that our federal partners are already moving to distribute the first doses of the vaccine throughout the country,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said at a Dec. 12 news conference. Calling the development of the vaccine in less than a year an “unparalleled scientific achievement,” Hahn said collaboration between the private sector, the scientific and academic community and the federal government allowed the process to move efficiently but safely. “Efficiency does not mean cutting of corners,” Hahn said,

noting that studies and testing are ongoing. “What’s different during COVID -19 is that developers, researchers and regulators have found new and hopefully lasting ways to be dynamic and efficient,” he said. FDA officials said millions of doses would ship within the first 24 hours after approval. The doses would be prorated by population, with health care workers and residents and staff of congregate care settings such as nursing homes among the first to receive the shots. Pfizer has said its vaccine, which is to be administered in two doses about three weeks apart, is more than 95% effective. Moderna is expected to receive approval for its vaccine when the FDA reviews its emergency authorization Dec. 17. AstraZenica and Johnson & Johnson also have vaccines in the accelerated approval pipeline. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

1.1M PPP Loans Forgiven So Far

Collision Engineering Program Launched

The U.S. Small Business Administration has already forgiven more than 1.1 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for over $100 billion, providing an extraordinary amount of critical relief to America’s small businesses just three months since the earliest PPP borrowers’ covered periods ended. The SBA has so far received 1,346,125 forgiveness applications for approximately $170.5 billion. SBA has made payment on nearly 85% of the applications, forgiving over $100 billion. For the smallest borrowers with loans up to $50,000, 88% have been approved for forgiveness. The new data comes as the PPP has recently reopened as a result of the Economic Aid to Hard Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, signed into law Dec. 27.

Enterprise Holdings announced Jan. 11 the launch of the automotive collision engineering pilot program, powered by the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation and Ranken Technical College. Designed to attract and develop entry-level talent to fill essential roles within the collision repair industry, and enhance retention and advancement among collision repair technicians, the program is piloting at four schools across the country: Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, MO; College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL; Contra Costa College in San Pablo, CA; and Texas State Technical College in Waco, TX. This groundbreaking program has been developed to address a major technician shortage. With nearly 80,000 new collision technicians needed between 2020 and 2024, according to the TechForce Foundation, demand is significantly outpacing a steadily declining supply of postsecondary collision technician entrants. Source: Enterprise Holdings

Source: SBA

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A Closer Look at Calibration Documentation and Technical Changes by Emmariah Holcomb, glassBYTEs.com

“There are various steps involved when you discuss calibration and it’s important to understand and document,” said Darrell Amberson, Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) calibration committee member, as he began describing the business review related to calibration in an industry webinar. The event, 2020R2 CIECAST, was hosted by CIECA and gave a technical update on changes that have been made, a business review on changes to calibration and parts and materials procurement. Technical Review A new workflow was established for calibration and scanning that included ADAS features, and according to Dan Webster, CIECA architecture committee chair, the data that was not shared between the collision and repair industries before was now able to be identified. A calibration aggregate was added to describe information for

pre-, interim- and repeated for post-repair. According to Webster, a calibration detail aggregate was added to document calibration details properly. “There was also scan information and scan detail aggregates that were added to describe the scanning information as well as extra details,” said Webster. Calibration Recap Amberson quickly outlined several steps associated with calibrations, the first being to properly record the Document Scan Results (DTCs). According to Amberson, there should be a printout or a virtual copy of all of the DTCs and all of the modules tested, which should include the VIN associated with the scanned vehicle. “It’s also important to notify the owner of the known ADAS systems and update them on these features before it is returned to OEM specifications,” said Amberson. According to his presentation, it is important to note calibration or re-learn information may or may

not reported via DTCs, and calibration or re-learn information may be found via Scan Tool Data Stream, which is outside of the manufacturer’s specifications. Documenting should also include the vehicle’s ADAS features, using a checklist, as well as the parts and repair operation included. “You don’t always have to use a checklist, but you should have a form of verification for what is done,” said Amberson. He also noted one should also keep documentation of the completed calibration process. Toward the end of his presentation, he showed a video that summarized all of the steps, from the first consultation with the customer, scanning the vehicle, completing dynamic and static calibrations to testing the vehicle when the calibration is complete. We thank glassBYTEs.com for reprint permission.


Safelite to Close Business Unit Safelite Autoglass notifyied employees and key customers Jan. 4 it intends to end its wholesale operation, Service Auto Glass, this week. Safelite Group will officially sunset the Service Auto Glass brand and the wholesale side of its business Jan. 5. “I am extremely proud of the role our wholesale business played in our company’s history. This decision is intended to allow us to fully focus our energies and resources on our core business,” said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of the Safelite Group. The warehouses are expected to remain open and to be used for internal distribution. Safelite’s wholesale division has faced challenges over the years— most notably selling to a client base with which it often competes. “Moving forward, our wholesale customers will still have access to parts through the same suppliers we use. We will begin actively notifying these customers {Jan. 4},” said Feeney. We thank glassBYTEs.com for reprint permission.

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GM Pays $121M Over Ignition Switches, Power Steering, Airbags by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

General Motors has agreed to settle class action claims for economic losses suffered by owners and lessees of vehicles that were recalled in 2014 for problems related to the ignition switches, power steering, key rotations and side airbag wiring. The plaintiffs claim they overpaid for their vehicles, allegations denied by GM which decided to settle the lawsuit because of the continued expense of litigation. The General Motors settlement fund will be $121.1 million, and although the lawyers who sued are expected to receive $34.5 million, no estimates have been reached about what vehicle owners may receive because much depends on how many owners and lessees file claims. In addition, payment amounts to eligible class action members will vary depending on which recall applied to their vehicle, the cost to implement the settlement and the number of GM customers

who file claims. The settlement includes all individuals, businesses and organizations, but daily rental fleet businesses, governmental entities and certain consumers are not included in the settlement. The settlement also does not include the release of claims for wrongful deaths or injuries. The $121 million settlement follows multiple other actions related to GM’s ignition switches, including $595 million to resolve death and injury compensation claims, $575 million to settle other death and injury claims and a shareholder lawsuit, and another $900 million to settle a government criminal probe. Visit GMIgnitionSwitchEconomicSettlement.com or call 877545-0241 to see if your vehicle is covered by the settlement. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.


Used-Car Sales Likely Down for 2020, but Close Year on High Note by Joe Overby, Auto Remarketing

Used-vehicle sales for 2020 were expected to finish 6% softer than the final 2019 tally, but it appears the year at least closed on a positive note for pre-owned. In a forecast released Dec. 28, TrueCar was projecting 3.1 million used-vehicle sales for December, which would beat November sales by 7% and prior-year figures by 6%. That would put the final yearend total at a projected 38.4 million used sales for 2020, a 6% drop from 2019, according to TrueCar. Separately, Cox Automotive analyst Kayla Reynolds said in an earlier December interview that 2020 was expected to close with 36.3 million used-car sales overall, with used retail (sales from dealers) at 19.3 million. For 2021, it is expected that the used total will climb to 39.3 million. On the new-car side, TrueCar was forecasting total sales of 14.6 million for full-year 2020, a 15% drop. For retail new-car sales, specifically, it was projecting 12.7 mil-

U.S. Car Rental Revenue Dives 27.4% in 2020 by ARN Staff

The U.S. car rental market achieved a projected $23.22 billion in revenue for 2020, the lowest overall revenue since 2011, according to data collected by Auto Rental News. The 27.4% drop in total revenue for 2020 compared to revenue of $32 billion in 2019 is historically unparalleled, in fact much steeper than during the Great Recession when revenues only dropped 6.7% from 2008 to 2009. The industry averaged 1.98 million units in its overall fleet in 2020, a 12.4% decline over 2019. As a result, revenue per unit, per month (RPU) dropped to $975 for the year, from $1,174 in 2019. “With a near total air travel shutdown, the Hertz and Advantage bankruptcies, an unexpectedly hot used car market and a seismic, forced shift to local rentals, this year will enter the record books as the most disruptive in car rental’s history,” said Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News. This year more than ever, the industry can be divided into quar-


“The first quarter ended as one of the most profitable and promising since exiting the Great Recession,” Brown said. “The economic and societal shutdown defined the second quarter. The third quarter saw a massive supply correction, with car rental companies able to capture newfound demand in the fourth quarter.” Supply chain shutdowns constricted wholesale supply to the point that car rental companies were able to sell sitting fleet at extraordinary prices during the summer, normally peak season for travel. “The used car market was the industry’s salvation, to be sure,” Brown continued. With the need for personal mobility favoring shared transportation, business shifted to the local market, and rental operators enjoyed a buoyed rate environment with the remaining tight fleet. Mileage for rental risk units plunged in the first two months of the pandemic as rental fleets were grounded. But as business picked up and rental units were sold, the

mileage on remaining units easily exceeded record highs. Average mileage for rental risk units in November was 54,200 miles, up 11% compared to a year earlier. “We likely won’t know the full effect of 2020 on the car rental industry—and society—until we have the benefit of time,” Brown said. “However, we can assess how industries reacted to the pandemic right now. As a whole, the U.S. car rental industry has demonstrated its ability to meet the demands of the moment. “We can start calling 2021 ‘the recovery year.’ With a smaller footprint and more efficient processes—yet with the ability to grow rapidly—the car rental industry is well poised to take advantage of the coming economic recovery.” We thank Auto Rental News for reprint permission.


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lion, an 8% decline. For December, in particular, TrueCar was projecting 1.61 million total new-car sales—a 6.5% year-over-year decrease, adjusting for selling days—and 1.43 million retail sales, down 2.2%. “In the final days of 2020, we can finally look in the rearview mirror and appreciate the tremendous recovery that the automotive industry has made since the pandemic derailed auto sales in March. Retail vehicle sales have nearly reached normal levels with sales down only 2.2% from last year, which is a truly impressive outcome,” TrueCar Director of OEM Analytics Nick Woolard said in a news release. “The momentum from a strong third quarter carried into the fourth quarter and solidified the industry’s comeback,” Woolard said. “Production and inventory have gone back up in the fourth quarter and, as a result, retail sales are up 34% quarter-over-quarter.” We thank Auto Remarketing for reprint permission.

39% of U.S. Reduced, Eliminated Insurance Due to the pandemic, unemployment rates skyrocketed in 2020 to astounding levels, forcing many Americans to struggle to make ends meet. As a result, when looking to cut costs, though 26% said that insurance would never be trimmed from their budgets, others had no choice but to cut or eliminate insurance coverage altogether. ValuePenguin’s most recent survey found almost 39% of Americans had to reduce or eliminate insurance costs to help them save money or because they found themselves unemployed. Almost four in 10 Americans cut back on insurance coverage in 2020, primarily to save money. That number jumps to 65% of those laid off or furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Health insurance was the most common policy consumers decreased coverage for or eliminated altogether, followed by auto insurance and dental insurance. Source: ValuePenguin

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Profile for Autobody News

February 2021 West Edition  

February 2021 West Edition