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Elon Musk Shares Update on Tesla’s In-House Collision Repair and Insurance Efforts by Maria Merano, Teslarati
Tesla CE O Elon Musk recently stated Tesla is building up its collision repair capabilities. He added Tesla Insurance would ensure collision repairs would make the experience smoother for customers. “Tesla is building up collision repair capability to help address the grief that you went through, but usually insurance companies make you go [ to] their ‘ approved’ collision repair partners. Tesla Insurance will make it smooth sailing,” Musk tweeted in response to a tweet from “E veryday Astro-
naut.” After Tesla Model 3 owner and SpaceX enthusiast E veryday Astronaut received his car from a Tesla certiﬁed body shop, he noticed the driver’s side mirror wasn’t working, and a loud whistling noise came out of his windshield. A Tesla Mobile Service technician ﬁ ed the side mirror and windshield in minutes. In 2018, Musk announced Tesla was bringing collision repairs in-house. He noted outside ﬁrms were taking too long on repairs, and it was “driving Tesla owners (and us) crazy.” Musk shared Tesla was aiming to complete repairs See Musk Shares Update, Page 6
GM, LG Energy Solution Investing $2.3 Billion in 2nd Ultium Cells Manufacturing Plant in U.S. U ltium Cells L L C, a joint venture of L G E nergy Solution and General Motors, on April 16 announced a more than $ 2.3 billion investment to build its second battery cell manufacturing plant in the U .S. The facility will be located in Spring Hill, TN. U ltium Cells will build the new plant on land leased from GM. The new battery cell plant will create 1,300 new jobs. Construction on the approximately 2.8 million-sq uare foot facility will begin immediately, and the plant is scheduled to open in late 2023.
O nce operational, the facility will supply battery cells to GM’s Spring Hill assembly plant.
Early conceptual rendering of Ultium Cells LLC battery cell manufacturing facility in Spring Hill, TN. See GM, LG Energy Solution, Page 20
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AUTOBODYNEWS.COM Vol. 39 / Issue 5 / May 2021
President Biden’s $174 Billion EV Package Broken Down Dollar by Dollar by Joey Klender, Teslarati
President J oe B iden’ s $ 174 billion aid package for electric vehicles has been broken down in an email sent by oﬃcials from the .S. epartment of Transportation. Biden’s plan to increase E V production and adoption across the U .S. is fueled by the massive spending package that aims to woo car buyers away from gas-powered engines, favoring electric cars instead. The $ 174 billion package can be broken down into several categories of diﬀerent spending allocations.
The largest is the consumer rebates portion of the package, accounting for $ 100 billion of the $ 174 billion package, R euters said. The rebates would be a signiﬁcant boost to U .S. automakers, especially ones like Tesla and General Motors, who cannot oﬀer , rebates when a vehicle is purchased. Previous limits axed the E V tax credit after manufacturers sold 200,000 electric cars. The reintroduction of the , tax credit would undoubtedly convince some car buyers to consider all-electric options, bringing down See $174 Billion EV Package, Page 20
First EVs As Part of Hawaii’s Statewide, Multi-Agency Service Contract Arrive The Hawaii epartment of Transportation H T made a step forward in electriﬁcation of its light duty ﬂeet with the arrival of the ﬁrst electric vehicles (E V s) procured through the state’s E V as a service contract.
vehicle and an average of $ 287 per vehicle per year in fuel costs. n pril , the ﬁrst of nine s to serve as vehicle replacements was delivered to State Highways. O ne E V was picked up by the Hawaii State nergy ﬃce HS through the contract as well. y the end of May, H T will replace an additional 34 internal combustion engine vehicles with E V s. “ e were deﬁnitely e cited to begin the service contract with Sustainability Partners, as converting our aging vehicles to E V s is another way H T is saving Warren Carsey, Sustainability Partners’s senior investor in money and working towards the Hawaiian Islands, hands off the keys to Mike Medeiros, the state’s goal of reducing HDOT Highways Oahu District Engineer fuel consumption in ground The E V as a service contract transportation by , said allows H T and other interested Hawaii epartment of Transportation eputy irector for Highways Ed state and county agencies to procure E V s and charging infrastruc- Sniffen. “Public and private ground ture on a per mile cost basis. U se of transportation is a huge contributor to this service contract is expected to carbon dioxide emissions. This sersave appro imately in vehicle vice contract, that is available to all See First EVs, Page 24 maintenance over the lifespan of the
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2 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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Axalta to Host Virtual Capital Markets Day .........50
California Introduces Manufacturing Tax
CAA Supports AB 471 for Accountability,
CARSTAR La Habra Provides Food for 150 Hospital Front Line Staff ................................10 COVID Rebates at the Center of Latest GEICO Class Action Complaint .................................12 DMV Arrests 3 Las Vegas Men in Connection with Illegal Lien Scam ...................................14 Farmers Insurance Launches FairMile, New Usage-Based Commercial Auto Insurance Program, in Washington State .......................12 First EVs As Part of Hawaii’s Statewide, Multi-Agency Service Contract Arrive ..............1 Fix Auto San Clemente Earns People’s Choice Golden Ole Award ...........................................6 Lee Mejorado Appointed to CAWA’s Manufacturer Advisory Council......................19 Local Motors Begins First-Ever Autonomous Vehicle Project at MCAS Miramar ..................18 Man Charged with Attempting to Extort Tesla Pleads Guilty ........................................19 PG&E, BMW Group Taking Next Step in Powering EVs, Supporting Grid Reliability ......16 San Francisco Man Charged with Auto Body Shop Break-In, Safeway Store Shoplifting in Belmont, CA ..............................................22 Washington State Passes Law Establishing 2030 Target for Phasing Out Gasoline Vehicles .........6
Accessibility, Transparency ............................38 CCC’s 2021 Crash Course Report Offers a Glimpse of the ‘New Normal’.........................36
Anderson - Have We Handcuffed Employees from Providing Extraordinary Customer Service? ...30 Attanasio - 4C Collision Consulting Focuses on Growing MSOs Through Strategic Marketing...44 Phillips - How a Shop Owner Enhanced Employee Culture While Providing Outstanding Service During COVID-19 ..........40 Sisk - ASA Bonus Webinar Explores Value of Return to Work Programs ..........................42 Sisk - Getting Paid Starts at the Beginning of the Process: MSCRA Hosts Collision Hub for Estimating Training .......................................48 Sisk - WIN Webinar Explores What’s NEXT for Auto Body in the Digital World ..................34 Yoswick - Deciding Between Leasing and Purchasing When Adding Shop Locations ......32 NATIONAL 87% of Drivers Engaged in Distracted Driving ...20 ASE Launches Redesigned Website...................14 asTech Acquires Red EU & Red Autocentres ......50
Chip Shortage Saga: Ford F-150 And Edge to Be Built Without Certain Electronic Modules ..24 Cox Automotive March Forecast: U.S. Auto Sales Pick Up Pace Heading into Spring ........49
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, Norman Morano (800) 699-8251 Office Manager: Louise Tedesco Digital Marketing Manager: Bryan Malinski Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Graphic Designer: Vicki Sitarz Online and Web Content Editor: Abby Andrews Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Permissions Editor: Randi Scholtes Office Assistant: Dianne Pray
Serving 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.
American Icon Automotive Finishes ................. 22
Kia Downtown Los Angeles ............................. 18
Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers .......................... 41
Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers ...........46-47
AutoNation Collision Parts ............................... 11
Kia of Carson .................................................. 40
AutoNation Infiniti Tustin ................................. 34
Kia of Irvine .................................................... 31
AutoNation Roseville ......................................8-9
Larry H. Miller Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram ....... 24
BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers ........................ 49
Lithia Honda of Medford.................................... 6
Supercar in 2025 ..........................................24
LKQ Corporation ............................................... 5
KBB Names Brand Image Winners ....................25
Car Pros Kia .................................................... 14
Maita Chevrolet............................................... 16
Car Pros Kia Renton ........................................ 36
Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers ...................... 52
Certified Automotive Parts Association ............ 12
Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers ........ 52
SEMA Show ..................................................49
Classifieds ...................................................... 54
Michael Hohl Motor Company ......................... 42
Maaco Launches Online Estimating Tool............10
Colortone Automotive Paints ........................... 20
MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers.......................... 48
Courtesy Chevrolet San Diego ......................... 35
MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers ..................... 33
DCH Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat............... 10
Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers............ 55
in March: Edmunds .......................................52
Equalizer Industries, Inc .................................. 30
Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers .................... 53
Nominations Open for NABC Awards .................41
FH Dailey Chevrolet......................................... 38
Reno Buick-GMC ............................................ 24
Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers .......................... 51
Sandberg Volvo Cars ....................................... 38
Future Nissan of Roseville ............................... 32
SATA Dan-Am Company .................................. 23
Certified as J.D. Power 2021 Dealers of
Galpin Motors ................................................. 43
Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes .............. 2
Garden Grove Kia ............................................ 31
Sierra Chevrolet-Honda-Subaru ...................... 19
Glenn E. Thomas Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep ........... 21
Spanesi Americas ........................................... 15
GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ........................... 37
Steck Manufacturing Company ....................... 10
as Parking Garage Blames Autopilot for
Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers .......28-29
Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers...................... 45
Model 3 Crash ................................................4
Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers .................... 50
Sunmight USA ...........................................26-27
Industrial Finishes and Systems .................. 7, 56
The Bay Area Automotive Group ...................... 39
Insta Finish ..................................................... 17
Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers .............. 44
Kearny Mesa Subaru-Hyundai ......................... 25
Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers ........................ 42
Elon Musk Shares Update on Tesla’s In-House Collision Repair and Insurance Efforts .............1 Erie Insurance National Survey: Americans Eager to Take Road Trips in 2021 ..................54 EV Market Declined in 2020 ..............................38 Farmers Insurance Finds More Than Half of Drivers Admit to Using Cell Phones While Behind the Wheel ..........................................53 Ford Recalls 2.9 Million Vehicles to Replace Takata Airbags ..............................................52 GM Airbag Investigation Launched After Injuries .........................................................53 GM Earns 2021 ENERGY STAR Award................35 GM, LG Energy Solution Investing $2.3 Billion in 2nd Ultium Cells Manufacturing Plant in U.S....1 Honda Donates Portable Generators ..................18 It’s Official, Ferrari Will Have Its Fully Electric
Kia Recalls 2021 Telluride, K5, Forte to Protect Kids ..................................................54
Las Vegas Ready to Welcome 2021
MINI Will Switch to Fully-Electric Vehicles By Early 2030s .............................................31 New Vehicle Inventory Continued to Dwindle
President Biden’s $174 Billion EV Package Broken Down Dollar by Dollar .........................1 Record-Breaking 78 AutoNation Dealerships
Tesla Alleged ‘Driverless’ Crash in Texas: What is Known So Far ...................................22 Tesla Owner Involved in $100K+ Legal Battle
U.S. Auto Industry Pushes Biden to Move Forward with EV Adoption Plan........................4 Volkswagen Group Has Plans to Switch to Single Electric Car Platform ..........................18
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
Credit Legislation ..........................................14
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Tesla Owner Involved in $100K+ Legal Battle as Parking Garage Blames Autopilot for Model 3 Crash by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
A Tesla owner has found himself in the middle of a battle worth more than $ 100,000 in property damages after his Model 3 Performance crashed while being driven out of a valet parking garage. espite being in the right and having the evidence to back up his claims, the Tesla owner has ended up in an uphill battle that could last for some time. It was supposed to be a routine process. After having his Model 3 parked at a multi-story garage, the Tesla owner asked for his vehicle to be returned. A valet then went on to retrieve the Model 3 from its parking spot. A Teslacam video of the valet driving the vehicle showed everything seemed normal, despite the parking garage employee driving a bit fast in such a cramped space. Moments later, the Tesla owner was shocked as part of the parking garage’s second-ﬂoor walls came crashing into the sidewalk below. Images taken by the owner after the incident revealed a vehicle had been partly pushed through the parking garage’s brick walls. Fearing the worst, the Tesla driver ran up to check on the valet and his Model 3. hat he saw conﬁrmed his fears. Smashed against two vehicles was his blue Tesla Model 3 Performance, its front end crushed as it collided with other parked cars. As the valet stumbled out of the Model 3, he promptly claimed the Tesla suddenly engaged Autopilot and drove itself into the other vehicles. The valet was not joking. While those inexperienced with Tesla’s tech may ﬁnd it easy to blame Autopilot to avoid accountability when something terrible happens, those familiar with the driver-assist
system know Autopilot could not be engaged in a number of places. O ne of these is, of course, a multi-story parking garage. The Model 3 owner then knew something was amiss when the valet told him Autopilot suddenly drove the Tesla into the other vehicles. The parking garage company claimed innocence by stating the incident was caused by “unintended acceleration” on the Model 3’s part. The company refused to budge, and the Tesla owner decided to ﬁght all the way. Being familiar with how Tesla stores its vehicles’ data, the Model 3 owner decided to gather so much evidence that there will be no way his insurance company could lose the case. In cases such as these, which involve a party claiming unintended acceleration through Autopilot, it is always best to have a Tesla’s vent ata ecorder report. The is like the car’s black bo , recording everything that has happened in the vehicle. E verything, from the driver’s weight, the vehicle’s speed, which pedals were pressed and how far they are pressed, could all be determined in the report. The Model 3 owner then contacted Tesla for help in retrieving his car’s records. Much to his chagrin, Tesla refused, citing legal reasons because he lives outside of California. In a statement to YouTube channel Wham Baam Teslacam, the Model 3 owner remarked he is not really sure why Tesla refused his req uest, though he thinks if it were his lawyer who contacted the electric car maker, the results would have been diﬀerent. isappointed but not deterred, the Model 3 owner ended up hiring an technician to retrieve his Tesla’s report. The move cost him
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$ 1,300. The report was damning. A look at the data from the Model 3 showed the valet was not even wearing a seatbelt while operating the Tesla. The vehicle was also moving reasonably fast for a car being driven out of a multi-story parking garage. But even more importantly, the showed the valet had applied pressure on the accelerator and pressure on the brake pedal all the way up to the crash. With this data, the Model owner ﬁgured he could ultimately prove the parking garage’s unintended acceleration claim was untrue. But despite the mountain of evidence provided by the report, the parking garage company decided to dig their heels in the sand and stand by their claim of unintended acceleration. The Model 3 owner’s insurance company has paid out on the multiple claims for the damages that resulted from the incident and has pledged to reimburse him
after litigation is ﬁnished. ut that process could take q uite a while. The incident resulted in $ 24,000 worth of repairs to the Model 3 Performance. Adding on the damage to the other vehicles involved in the incident and the damage to the building itself, the total cost of property damage from the crash is estimated to be far beyond $ 100,000. U ltimately, the Tesla owner’s experience with the parking garage highlights two notable things. O ne, parking garages and valets should know it’s tough to lie about what one does in a Tesla since data from the would most deﬁnitely show the truth. And second, Tesla’s service has a lot of space for improvement, so owners who approach the company for help after such a harrowing, aggravating incident would not be turned away. n re uest, especially one by an owner involved in an accident, is better oﬀ approved, after all. We thank T eslarati for reprint permission.
U.S. Auto Industry Pushes Biden to Move Forward with EV Adoption Plan by Steven Loveday, Inside EVs
L arge automakers, related companies and the U nited Auto Workers (U AW) made speciﬁc re uests to the iden Administration recently in a sixpage letter. The letter, dated March 29 , asked for a push forward related to tax credits and incentives for the future of the E V industry. President J oe B iden has been talking about his $ 3 trillion infrastructure plan, which aims to speed up E V adoption in the U .S. by pulling a number of levers. If the plan plays out as proposed, it will include electric car tax credits, E V charging infrastructure build-out and much more. According to R euters, via Autoblog: “As a candidate, Biden pledged to invest $ 2 trillion in infrastructure spending, including ﬁ ing highways, bridges and airports; encouraging fuel-eﬃcient vehicle manufacturing and installing , charging stations. The letter noted there are currently 100,000 public charging outlets nationwide.” ith several automakers oﬃcially announcing plans to go “all in”
on E V s, Biden’s plan, if passed, will help alleviate their previous apprehension. It has been proven for years that electric cars are diﬃcult and expensive to produce. L egacy automakers fear losses going forward; with the help of the federal government, it could be a huge win-win situation in the future. The letter points out there are 278 million passenger vehicles currently registered on our shores. nly . million are electric cars. s account for only of vehicle sales in the U .S. today. “To fully transition is going to req uire an enormous eﬀort across the economy in every sector,” said J ohn B oz z ella, head of the Alliance for Automobile Innovation. The letter highlights the need for a comprehensive plan based on reality. It points out in the current situation, there’s no way E V adoption can ﬁnd success in the near term, and the possibility of transitioning to carbon-free transportation is not going to happen without a major change in policy and governmental support. We thank I nsid e E V s for reprint permission.
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Continued from Cover
Musk Shares Update
Washington State Passes Law Establishing 2030 Target for Phasing Out Gasoline Vehicles
within the same day or in under an hour. Having Tesla Insurance coordinate with the company’s in-house collision repair facilities would make the repair process more streamlined and convenient for E V owners. This could be a notable advantage for Tesla owners, as having a vehicle repaired after a collision is arguably one of the most stressful times in car ownership. A streamlined process between Tesla Insurance and the company’s in-house collision repair could be a game changer. Tesla has taken steps to expand its insurance program since Musk and Z achary K irkhorn expressed the company’s intentions for expansion during the Q 2 2020 earnings call. Tesla Insurance has expanded to Texas, Illinois and Washington in the U .S. The company has also set the board to launch Tesla Insurance in other countries, like Israel, China and some nations in E urope. We thank T eslarati for reprint permission.
The Washington State legislature has passed groundbreaking legislation that sets a target for all model year 2030 or later passenger and light-duty vehicles sold in Washington to be electric vehicles. The new law establishes the most aggressive state goal in the U .S. for moving to an all-electric future and puts ashington ﬁve years ahead of alifornia’s target. Clean Cars 2030 passed as an amendment to E 2SHB 1287, a bill mandating electric utility preparation for an all-E V future, with a vote of - in the Senate and - in the House. It now heads to Gov. J ay I nslee’ s desk for signature. First introduced in the legislature by R ep. N icole Macri -Seattle) as HB 1204, the bill is now the ﬁrst gasoline phaseout target to be passed through the legislative process. “With the passage of Clean Cars 2030, the end of the era of gasoline-powered cars is in sight,” said Matthew Metz , co-executive director of Coltura. “Clean Cars 2030
sets Washington on a nation-leading path consistent with climate science and an auto industry trend toward a fully-electric automotive future. “We applaud R ep. Macri, R ep. A lex R am el - ellingham and Sen. Marko Liias - ynnwood for their leadership on this bill, as well as the many other legislators who made history with their votes.” “Passage of this legislation takes the guesswork and uncertainty out of the electric vehicle transition by creating a clear timeline with the data, tools and guidelines we need to help businesses, developers, governments and consumers plan with conﬁdence, said iias. “Clean Cars 2030 is a critical step to meet urgent carbon reduction goals here in Washington and can serve as a model and impetus for other states to accelerate the switch to E V s.” Since Clean Cars 2030 was introduced to the legislature J an. 14, the automotive industry has accelerated the shift away from gasoline cars. GM announced plans to sell only zero-emissions vehicles by
, Ford said it would only sell E V s in E urope by 2030, BMW’s MINI sub-division pledged to be E V -only by 2030, and V olvo committed to selling only E V s by 2030. The 2030 target will be integrated into planning and ﬁnancial decision-making by a broad group of government, automaker, utility and other stakeholders. It will take full eﬀect when of vehicles on the road are subject to a road usage charge, a development which is expected within the next several years. Coltura spearheaded a diverse coalition of more than organizations advocating for the bill’s passage, including leading environmental, social justice and faith groups across the state. The date certain established in the bill for the transition away from gasoline vehicles also attracted the support of the automotive and business community, including an endorsement from the ashington State uto ealers Association. S ou rce: Coltu ra
Fix Auto San Clemente Earns People’s Choice Golden Ole Award Premier collision repair center F ix A u to S an Clemente earned a prestigious Golden O le recognition for the th nnual est of San lemente People’s Choice O le Awards. O wner of Fix Auto San Clemente, R ichard F ish, opened his ﬁrst body shop in . Since then, Fish has been a student of the industry, focused on process improvement, learning best practices from other Fix Auto U SA members and enhancing life in the shop for his employees. Fish expanded his operations across three counties and eight locations, including Fix Auto San Clemente. “For me, my centers provide much more than collision repair and helping customers get back on the road,” said Fish. “When someone trusts us with repairing their vehicle, we know we are also bringing their life back to ‘ normal,’
and that is very comforting; we are helping someone move past a distressing experience.” E very year, the San Clemente Times celebrates the best its community has to oﬀer by honoring local businesses with the People’s Choice O le Awards. “This is the third year we’ve been recognized as one of the best collision repair locations throughout San Clemente and it’s very rewarding for our team, as we are a part of this close-knit community we serve,” continued Fish. “This continued recognition validates that what we’re doing is meaningful and this award only further cements our ﬁrst class shop capabilities and culture.” V isit FixAutoU SA.com to learn more. S ou rce: F ix A u to S an Clemente
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CARSTAR La Habra Provides Food for 150 Hospital Front Line Staff As a thank you to front line workers, CAR STAR L a Habra in L a Habra, CA, provided food for 150 staﬀ at rovidence St. ude, while also supporting a local bakery. “We wanted to try and do something for our local health care workers and once we started investigating ways to give back, we reali ed we could also help support a local business if we donated a meal,” said D ennis Truong , owner of ST a Habra. “ ur goal became clear afterwards, to provide a meal for every staﬀ member—with food from a wonderful local restaurant. Truong decided to purchase meals from ee’s Sandwiches, a locally owned bakery. ee’s Sandwiches also oined the contribution, providing a discount because the meal was for a Habra health care workers. “This kind and thoughtful oﬀer was very much appreciated by the caregivers, and we thank CAR STAR for thinking of us,” said B rian H elleland, of rovidence St. ude Medical enter. “ uring this challenging time,
we’ve been comforted, encouraged and humbled by the outpouring of generosity and support from our community.
E stablished more than 6 0 years ago by the Sisters of St. oseph of range, rovidence St. ude has grown into one of the state’s most respected and technologically advanced hospitals. “The employees at rovidence St. ude never skipped a beat throughout this pandemic, so it was important for us to thank them for their hard work through-
out this challenging year, said Truong. “ e’re deeply involved in fundraising for the ystic Fibrosis Foundation, so we know how much care, assistance and support some patients need and how hard these health care heroes work. CAR STAR L a Habra has hosted charity car wash fundraisers for the ystic Fibrosis Foundation, surprised customers by paying for their repairs, donated a car to a family in need through the NABC R ecycled ides program and sponsors local organizations throughout the L a Habra community. “ s a local business owner, I see it as part of my responsibility to give back to the community we serve, so we were grateful to make this happen, said Truong. For more information, visit ST .com. S ou rce: CA R S T A R
Maaco Launches Online Estimating Tool Maaco now oﬀers vehicle owners a new, uniq ue and easy way to obtain estimates and book appointments to have their car painted and have minor dents, scratches or weather damages repaired with the Maaco online estimating tool. ne of the ﬁrst estimating services of its kind, the online tool allows customers to input information that generates an estimate for the services they need. It even has the ﬂe ibility to ad ust pricing based on geography and the diﬀerence in regional labor rates. nce the estimate is generated, the vehicle owner can use the tool to book an online appointment, making the entire process fast, easy and able to be done from home on a phone or desktop.To get an online estimate, customers simply answer a few uestions about their vehicle. Then they receive a preliminary estimate. From there, the customer can book an appointment to ﬁnali e the estimate on-site with their nearest Maaco facility. Source Maaco
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Farmers Insurance Launches FairMile, New Usage-Based Commercial Auto Insurance Program, in Washington State Farmers Insurance on April 8 announced it is oﬀering its new usage-based commercial automobile insurance program, FairMile, in Washington state. With the FairMile program, business owners will now have the opportunity to choose per-mile insurance pricing—providing the opportunity to save on insurance when business vehicles are not being driven. In addition to potential savings, business owners enrolled in the FairMile program will gain access to the FairMile app, which contains helpful information to review and manage the use of their vehicles. “Farmers is excited to bring the FairMile program to the small business community in Washington,” said A aron Cruz , product development lead for the FairMile program at Farmers Insurance. “At Farmers, we are deeply committed to innovating based on the emerging needs of our customers. We recognize that all businesses are created diﬀerently, but for many, driving operations can change from day-to-day or from season-to-season. “The FairMile program provides
a ﬂe ible option for customers who prefer usage-based pricing to address this variability. As an added value, we look forward to providing our customers with insightful vehicle information displayed via the FairMile app. This new oﬀering is ust the latest demonstration of our commitment to meeting needs of an evolving marketplace.”
With the FairMile program, premium is based on the actual miles driven in each business vehicle insured by a Farmers Commercial Auto policy. It may be ideally suited to provide potential cost savings to customers that have a seasonal or cyclical business, such as landscapers or ﬂorists, businesses where driving is infreq uent, or businesses where certain
“The FairMile program provides a flexible option for customers who prefer usage-based pricing to address this variability.” — Aaron Cruz Based on an internal survey* of Business Insurance customers, Farmers found: hile of business insurance customers were already likely to use telematics technology, nearly were likely to use telematics technology if accompanied by additional savings on their insurance policy. While per-mile pricing expectedly resonated with businesses that were driving less, those that preferred a per-mile pricing concept tended to be smaller in size.
vehicles are used sparingly. E ach month, premium adjustments are made to reﬂect actual miles driven compared to the mileage amount originally estimated. Business owners have the option to select between a monthly E FT or credit card payment plan to facilitate premium adjustments. Customers choosing to enroll in the FairMile program will receive a telematics plug-in device for each of their business vehicles. The device is compatible with most vehicle model
years 2000 and newer and must be installed in each of the vehicles in the program. In addition, the device will be complemented by the FairMile app which contains a collection of features for business owners including: monthly mileage reports, near-realtime vehicle location tracking, detailed trip summaries, insights into certain driving behaviors performed in vehicles and select engine fault alerts that may help owners get ahead of potential problems. The FairMile app is accessible on both iO S and Android mobile phones, or through a web browser. Business owners are encouraged to contact their local Farmers agent to learn more about vehicle ualiﬁcations and an additional discount available to customers who combine a Farmers Commercial Auto Policy (including those enrolled in the FairMile program) with a new Farmers Business O wners Policy. * Internal Farmers survey of Business Insurance customers conducted in J anuary 2020. S ou rce: F armers I nsu rance
COVID Rebates at the Center of Latest GEICO Class Action Complaint J essica D ay has become the lead plaintiﬀ in a alifornia class action lawsuit against GE ICO Casualty Company, GE ICO Indemnity Company and GE ICO General Insurance Company (collectively GE ICO .) ay alleges G I wrongly refused to pay back overcharged premiums during the pandemic when fewer people were driving and fewer car accident claims were submitted. ccording to ay’s complaint, the auto insurer is at fault for “unfairly proﬁting from the global I pandemic. In March 2020, states across the country, including California, began to enforce social distancing measures to slow the spread of I - , which included closing schools and businesses and instituting strict “stay-at-home” orders that prevented most individuals from leaving their homes for extended periods of time, according to the class action complaint.“While many companies, industries and individuals have suffered ﬁnancially as a result of the I - pandemic, auto insurers like GE ICO have scored a wind-
fall,” a portion of the class action complaint reads. “Not surprisingly, as a result of statewide social distancing and stay-at-home measures, there has been a dramatic reduction in driving, and an attendant reduction in driving-related accidents. “According to its parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, GE ICO reported pretax earnings of $ 3.428 billion in 2020. That is more than double GE ICO ’s earnings over the same period in 2019 .” The state’s insurance commissioner, R icardo Lara, said car insurers overcharged by from March through September 2020, pointing out carriers collected $ 220 million in excess premiums in April 2020 alone, according to ay’s complaint. “The bottom line: Insurance companies overcharged consumers and need to do more to make it right and help Californians recover,” said L ara. GE ICO has yet to respond to ay’s class action complaint. ook to a future edition of glassBYTE s for further coverage. We thank g lassB Y T E s.com for reprint permission.
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12 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 13
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ASE Launches Redesigned Website The National Institute for utomotive Service cellence S has launched its newly redesigned website― S .com―to provide a centrali ed online gateway for technicians, employers, students, instructors and consumers. S is the pre-eminent independent non-proﬁt organi ation, which since has worked to improve the uality of vehicle repair and service through testing and certifying automotive professionals. The new mobile-ready website features a totally new look and structure for easier navigation and robust content for enhanced functionality and learning. S . com is optimally organi ed to provide sought-after information, answers to fre uently asked uestions and helpful step-by-step instructions for all users. Source
DMV Arrests 3 Las Vegas Men in Connection with Illegal Lien Scam by Katelyn Newberg, Las Vegas Review-Journal
State oﬃcials with the epartment of Motor ehicles have arrested three as egas men accused of a lien sale scam involving ﬁve vehicles. Yousef H am m oudeh, 6 1, Suleim an Show baki, , and Eric B ram bila, , were arrested in mid-March in connection with a scam involving the ﬁve cars, including two “high-end e otic vehicles, which combined are worth more than , , according to a news release from the department. Showbaki is the owner of S & M A u to B od y , a paint and car repair business in the northeast as egas alley, the department said. rambila is the owner of S harp T ransmissions, a repair shop in North as egas. Investigators believe Showbaki and rambila falsiﬁed work orders for repairs, and then sold the ﬁve vehicles to Hammoudeh “for proﬁt, the release said. ien sales for the vehicle were then completed using the fraudulent repair orders, “even though
California Introduces Manufacturing Tax Credit Legislation by SEMA Editors
alifornia ssembly Member Tim Gray son - oncord introduced S M -supported legislation, , that would create a new ta credit designed to stimulate long-term capital investments in manufacturing. S M members are encouraged to register their support for the bill by visiting https www.votervoice.net S M campaigns respond If enacted, would provide Golden State manufacturers with more than employees with a credit against ta es imposed for the purchase of ualiﬁed tangible personal property, such as e uipment, machinery, computers or computing software involved in the manufacturing process. Small manufacturers with fewer than employees would be eligi-
ble for a ta credit. This is especially important to S M ’s member companies, of which employ less than individuals. In both cases, the ta credit covers up to million in ualiﬁed investments and may be carried over for up to ﬁve years beginning in . Grayson is a member of the S M State utomotive nthusiast eadership aucus and was the winner of S M ’s Step hen B . McD onald egislator of the ear award. In addition to being a lawmaker, Grayson, along with his wife Tammy, is also an enthusiast. Included in the Graysons’ collection are two classic Ford Mustangs. For more information, contact Christian R obinson at christianr sema.org. S ou rce: S E M A
work was never done on the cars, the department said. The M then received “falsiﬁed title reuests for Hammoudeh to obtain legal ownership of the vehicles. “Falsifying title documents and fraudulently obtaining ownership of a vehicle through a lien
sale is the same as stealing it, J . D . D ecker, the chief of the M compliance enforcement division, said in the release. icensed body shops and garages conducting lien sales can auction a vehicle when the owner fails to pay for the car’s repairs, the department said. The business conducting the auction “must follow strict procedures and must sell the vehicle to a third party. hen arresting Hammoudeh, oﬃcials impounded three other vehicles owned by Hammoudeh and
his family in Nevada. The vehicles had alifornia dealer license plates that Hammoudeh obtained through a dealership he owns in alifornia, the release said. Hammoudeh was charged with two felony counts of attempting to obtain money under false pretenses, two felony counts of obtaining money under false pretenses, and ﬁve gross misdemeanor counts of furnishing falsiﬁed title documentation to the M , court records show. Showbaki and rambila were charged with two felony counts of attempting to obtain money by false pretenses. Showbaki faces three gross misdemeanor counts of furnishing falsiﬁed title documentation to the M , while rambila faces two counts of the gross misdemeanor charge. The men were arrested March and March , but then released on their own recogni ance, court records show. Hammoudeh is scheduled to appear in court pril , while Showbaki and rambila are due to appear pril . We thank the L as V eg as R ev iew - J ou rnal for reprint permission.
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PG&E, BMW Group Taking Next Step in Powering EVs, Supporting Grid Reliability aciﬁc Gas and lectric ompany (PG& E ) and the BMW Group on March 22 announced an expansion of their partnership focused on smart charging electric vehicles (E V s) with excess renewable energy to support grid reliability. PG& E and the BMW Group are kicking oﬀ phase three of their ChargeForward program. This new phase will expand the program to all BMW E V drivers in Northern and Central California who are PG& E residential electric customers. esigned for a larger group of BMW E V drivers—about 3,000 E V drivers compared to 100 and 400 in phase one and two—phase three of the pilot will further explore how incentivizing drivers to shift their E V charging times can help meet the needs of the electric grid and use excess renewable energy available during the day. As part of this, PG& E will work with BMW to send signals to participants encouraging them to charge at times that support the grid. E nrollment in phase three of the ChargeForward program kicked oﬀ March , with the program launching in mid-April and running through March 2023. In the future, PG& E and the BMW Group believe vehicles could play a larger role in supporting the grid as new vehicle technologies are developed. Future E V s may have the capability to discharge the vehicle battery to support the grid, expanding the capabilities beyond smart charging and supporting customers and the grid during emergencies. To support this, PG& E and the BMW Group will collaborate in a lab setting to explore this potential by testing vehicle-to-grid functionalities. These eﬀorts could support bill savings for customers driving E V s and include testing the use of
E V batteries for backup generation and other grid services. What is Smart Charging? Through smart charging, E V s act as a ﬂe ible grid resource to support the overall reliability of the electric grid. Smart charging focuses on moving E V charging away from times when electricity is in high demand and toward times when there is less demand and also more renewable energy on the grid such as mid-day. By responding to req uests to move their E V charging times, drivers will support the electric grid and take advantage of clean, renewable energy. Additionally, using E V s as a ﬂe ible grid resource could ultimately lead to cost savings associated with operating and maintaining the grid as well as for customers owning an E V . BMW ChargeForward Phase Three Program Participation BMW expects approximately 3,000 BMW E V drivers in PG& E ’s service area to participate in this phase of the pilot. Interested consumers can complete an application at www.bmwchargeforward.com starting March 22. BMW hopes to expand the availability of the program to MINI electriﬁed customers in the near future. Through BMW Connectedrive—which enables connectivity among cars, drivers and their surroundings—and a customized BMW ChargeForward smartphone app, participating BMW drivers will be able to opt out of any smart charging req uest, based on their driving and personal preferences. When a customer allows their vehicle to be smart charged, the vehicle charging will be shifted to meet the needs of the electric grid.
Participating BMW E V drivers earn incentives for smart charging, including at sign-up and up to an additional per year by following ChargeForward recommendations. The total amount earned over the two years depends upon individual participation in charging events. uring the spring and fall months, program participants could earn incentives that oﬀset the entire cost of charging their vehicle, charging miles per month with clean electricity at no cost, due to the ChargeForward incentives and plugging into the grid when renewable energy is highly available. BMW and PG&E ChargeForward Partnership hargeForward launched in to test the ability of E V s to support the electric grid and provide beneﬁts to customers through vehicle-grid-integration applications that enable smart charging and demand response. O ptimizing charging with renewable energy was the focus of
the second phase. Initial tests of renewable optimizations showed participants averaged more than of renewable energy charging, more than double the national average at the time. Highlights from the ChargeForward phase two pilot include: • More than 1 million miles were powered by renewable energy charging during a one-year period • Smart charging E V s can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an additional on average in Northern California, according to research from the U niversity of California Berkeley • Smart charging, when combined with broad access to workplace charging infrastructure, enables plugin electric vehicles to more than double their renewable energy usage • A smart-charging plug-in hybrid can integrate more renewable energy than a normal-charging all-battery electric vehicle, despite the smaller battery size S ou rce: P G & E , B M W
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Honda Donates Portable Generators Honda is donating its E G2800i portable electrical generators to state and county health departments to provide on-site power to vaccination clinics in Alabama, California, Georgia, Indiana, O hio, North Carolina and South Carolina, where Honda has ma or operations. The portable generators will provide reliable power for lighting and computer usage, as well as refrigerators and freezers critical for maintaining CO V ID-19 vaccines within manufacturer-recommended temperature ranges. Honda is working with state and county oﬃcials to provide each state with 10 Honda E G2800i portable generators. The generators are being allocated to state or county health departments based on each state’s vaccination distribution plan. Portable generators can provide essential power for mobile vaccination centers that are being used to get vaccines to hard-to-reach areas and vulnerable or underserved populations. S ou rce: H ond a
Local Motors Begins First-Ever Autonomous Vehicle Project at MCAS Miramar L ocal Motors, a leader in the development, manufacturing and deployment of autonomous shuttles, recently began the ﬁrst-ever pro ect moving packages around Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar using an autonomous electric shuttle, O lli. The pro ect is in collaboration with U S Ignite, an accelerator of smart communities, and NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge as a part of the 5G L iving L ab at MCAS Miramar. Funded through the ﬃce of Naval R esearch and Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) aciﬁc, this million initiative supports multiple pilot pro ects aimed at improving military base operations through technology innovation. MCAS Miramar personnel will be directly engaged in shuttle operations to gain autonomous vehicle experience and evaluate the beneﬁts of autonomous technology in potential base and deployment applications. Data from the O lli shuttles will be transferred via 5G network and analyzed beyond the duration of the 9 0-day pilot pro-
Volkswagen Group Has Plans to Switch to Single Electric Car Platform by Steven Loveday, Inside EVs
According to Autocar, V olkswagen Group will move to a single E V platform for most cars from most brands in the future. The new platform will replace the current MBE and PPE architecture. V W is developing it via its ro ect Trinity. utocar says launched ro ect Trinity with the speciﬁc intention to develop its upcoming Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which is “heavily based” on the ME B and PPE architecture. V W calls the SSP architecture “fully digital and highly scalable.” V olkswagen doesn’t plan to implement the new SSP platform until or . It will ﬁrst launch as part of udi’s ro ect Artemis. “The SSP platform will replace the existing platforms over a long period of time,” said V W Group Chief H erbert D iess in an interview with Autocar. “The start-up will begin with Artemis in . e’re taking what we’ve got with the ME B, and we’ll have cost improvement and stan-
dardisation of the battery, which goes hand-in-hand with a new electronic architecture providing more computing power to the vehicles. The SSP will eventually be the single backbone for the Group, we’re talking beyond 2035 here.” K eep in mind, we ust reported the other day Diess wants V W to develop and produce its own in-house software, much like Tesla. He said third-party ﬁ es are not the answer. The new SS platform, while still far oﬀ, may serve as a ma or part of that plan. It has a focus on standardized platforms for software, batteries and mobility services among most V W Group future models. Diess pointed out this platform sharing will help increase economies of scale, which V W Group must lean on to succeed in the segment. The automaker has also made signiﬁcant investments in its “ ar. Software” division, with plans to launch a next-gen V W operating system to coincide with the SSP architecture. We thank I nsid e E V s for reprint permission.
gram. “MCAS Miramar’s deployment of the O lli demonstrates the dual-use opportunity of autonomous electric vehicles on installa-
proving base operations and future on and oﬀ-base deployments. U S Ignite is supporting the launch and pro ect management of this pilot.
“It’s critical to be able to field test new technologies and evaluate them under real-world conditions,” — Eric Werner tions to transport both people and goods. It highlights the importance of early engagement with companies and how fostering a collaborative eﬀort provides eﬃcient dual-use technologies,” said L t. Col. B randon N ew ell, NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge director. “L ocal Motors is proud to develop and deploy made-in-America vehicles, and it is an honor to serve our military,” said L ocal Motors CE O J ay R og ers. “O ur Direct Digital Manufacturing clock-speed allows us to accelerate collaboration, deployment and testing of dual-use technologies. The results of this pro ect will be critical to im-
“It’s critical to be able to ﬁeld test new technologies and evaluate them under real-world conditions,” said Eric W erner, director of autonomous vehicle programs at U S Ignite. “As the military continues to upgrade and optimize base operations, pilot programs like this one will provide crucial insights on technology performance and the potential for automated vehicles to improve services for base personnel. We are pleased to be working with ocal Motors on this pro ect, and to be forging ahead with such an innovative program at MCAS Miramar.” S ou rce: L ocal M otors
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18 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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Lee Mejorado Appointed to CAWA’s Manufacturer Advisory Council
Man Charged with Attempting to Extort Tesla Pleads Guilty
Lee Mej orado of K YB Americas Corp has been appointed to CAWA’s Manufacturers Advisory Council. “We are pleased that Mr. Mejorado and K YB continue to support CAWA and appreciate he is joining our leadership team to participate and contribute to our discussions of contemporary industry issues,” said Mike Mohler, chair of the oard of irectors. “The current leadership looks forward to his perspective and insights, that will assist the Association in achieving its goals as an eﬀective automotive aftermarket industry organization.” Mejorado is the western regional sales manager for K YB Americas Corp, based in R iverside, CA. His area of responsibilities includes the states of Califor-
by Loukia Papadopoulos, Interesting Engineering
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nia, Arizona and Nevada. He has more than 20 years of automotive aftermarket experience, and is happy to say he recently celebrated his -year anniversary with . Prior to taking on the western regional sales manager duties with K YB, he was the company’s Southern California territory sales manager and handled key accounts. When Mejorado is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife, two sons and daughter. He also likes to get outdoors and ﬁsh freshwater rivers, camping, working on home projects and working on 19 6 9 -19 72 Chevy trucks. His family and he enjoy spending time gardening and caring for their chickens and goats. S ou rce: CA WA
A R ussian man, Eg or I g orevich K riuchkov, pleaded guilty March in the .S. istrict ourt in eno, N , to oﬀering a Tesla employee million to cripple the E V company’s battery plant in Nevada and steal trade secrets, the AP reported. uring the trial, prosecutors claimed K riuchkov, 27, acted on behalf of co-conspirators abroad. The accused tried to use face-to-face bribery to recruit an insider to plant ransomware in Tesla’s battery plant. This was deemed unusual as most threat actors operate from safe havens and do not get involved in faceto-face communications. L uckily, the unnamed man K riuchkov tried to recruit reached out to Tesla and worked with the FBI to thwart the plot before any damage could take place. So far, prosecutors and the FBI have not alleged K riuchkov had any relation to the K remlin. “The swift response of the company and the FBI prevented a major e ﬁltration of the victim compa-
ny’s data and stopped the extortion scheme at its inception,” Acting Assistant Attorney General N icholas McQ uaid said in a statement. “This case highlights the importance of companies coming forward to law enforcement, and the positive results when they do so.” riuchkov could have faced ﬁve years in prison and a , ﬁne, but under the terms of his written plea agreement, he will likely serve no more than 10 months. Court documents indicate K riuchkov was visiting the U .S. for more than ﬁve weeks last uly and August on a R ussian passport when he tried to commit his crime. He oﬀered the Tesla employee he tried to recruit the opportunity to receive payments in the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin. No one else was charged in the case; however, a criminal complaint did identify two individuals who go by the nicknames K isa and P asha. A third person was identiﬁed as Sasha Skarobog atov. We thank I nteresting E ng ineering for reprint permission.
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Investing $2.3 Billion “The addition of our second all-new ltium battery cell plant in the .S. with our oint venture partner G nergy Solution is another ma or step in our transition to an all-electric future, said GM hairman and Mary B arra. “The support of the state of Tennessee was an important factor in making this investment in Spring Hill possible and this type of support will be critical moving forward as we continue to take steps to transition our manufacturing footprint to support production. “This partnership with General Motors will transform Tennessee into another key location for electric vehicle and battery production. It will allow us to build solid and stable .S-based supply chains that enable everything from research, product development and production to the procurement of raw components, said G nergy Solution resident and J ong hy un K im . “Importantly, I truly believe this coming
Continued from Cover
$174 Billion EV Package their car’s cost by a signiﬁcant amount in some cases. There have been rumblings of the , credit being bumped up to , per unit sold. hile unconﬁrmed, several ashington . . sources have indicated the iden administration is considering a , boost to the previous ta credit amount. edbush analyst D an I ves commented on the possibility of the , amount earlier this week. “ e are hearing from our contacts in the eltway that , ta credit could potentially be , in terms of a credit and that’s going to be a massive catalyst not ust for Tesla, but for the ecosystem in the .S., Ives told ahoo Finance ive. ith billion out of the way and billion remaining, it appears billion will be used to accelerate the buildout of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. iden’s campaign is targeting at least , new charging stations.
together transcends a partnership as it marks a deﬁning moment that will reduce emissions and help to accelerate the adoption of s. The state-of-the-art Spring Hill plant will use the most advanced and eﬃcient battery cell manufacturing processes. The plant will be e tremely ﬂe ible and able to adapt to ongoing advances in technology and materials. GM’s proprietary ltium battery technology is at the heart of the company’s strategy to compete for nearly every customer in the marketplace, whether they are looking for aﬀordable transportation, lu ury vehicles, work trucks, commercial trucks or high-performance machines. ltium batteries are uni ue in the industry because the large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or hori ontally inside the battery pack. This allows engineers to optimi e battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design. nergy options range from to kilowatt hours, which could enable a GM-estimated range up to miles ne of the main concerns and points of nonowners is the lack of charging options available throughout the .S. However, with more companies oining the sector, the focus on charging is becoming an evident focus of automakers moving forward. Tesla has started to plan for larger Supercharger stalls in highly populated areas. New companies like ivian are ust releasing their charging plans a few months ahead of their ﬁrst vehicles being delivered to customers. The ﬁnal billion of the package will be divided into three subsections billion for electric school buses, aligning with iden’s plan to electrify the government ﬂeet, billion for ero-emission transit vehicles, and the remaining billion going to “other ta incentives. ltimately, the package will greatly beneﬁt nearly any car company that will begin developing electric powertrains for the passenger or commercial market. We thank T eslarati for reprint permission.
or more on a full charge with mph acceleration in seconds. GM’s future ltium-powered s are designed for evel and fast charging. Most will have -volt battery packs and up to k fast charging capability while GM’s truck platform will have volt battery packs and k fast charging capability. ith a -year history in the battery business, G nergy Solution has made consistent, large-scale investments to accumulate enough stability, credibility and manufacturing e perience to invent its own cutting-edge technologies. The company established its ﬁrst research facility in the .S. in the early s. In , the company built its ﬁrst .S battery plant in Holland, MI. Through ltium ells, G nergy Solution and GM will merge their advanced technologies and capabilities to help accelerate automotive electriﬁcation. S ou rce: G M
87% of Drivers Engaged in Distracted Driving Nearly nine in .S. drivers— —have engaged in various distracted driving behaviors while operating a vehicle for personal reasons in the past days, according to a new survey commissioned by Selective and conducted by The Harris oll. hat’s more, distracted driving isn’t ust occurring while adults are alone in vehicles— of drivers who are parents of children under say they do not always drive distraction-free when their children are in the car with them. The online study found the ma ority of .S. adults are concerned about distracted driving impacting their safety on the road today, with saying they are very concerned. et, the ma ority of drivers who have engaged in te ting, reaching for something or talking on a mobile device not hands-free while driving in the past days have done so even though they consider these actions to be distracted driving , , , respectively. S ou rce: S electiv e
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Tesla Alleged ‘Driverless’ Crash in Texas: What is Known So Far by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
O n April 17, a tragic crash involving a 2019 Tesla Model S claimed the lives of two people, a 59 -year-old and a 6 9 -year-old, both of whom are yet to be identiﬁed. Considering the nature of the case and partly due to the involvement of a Tesla, the incident has been covered by both local and national media outlets. This became q uite notable in social media platforms, where the crash has been linked to Autopilot. This guide presents what is currently known about the tragic incident, as well as some commentary and videos from E V owners who have attempted to replicate, at least to a degree, the alleged events that led up to the crash. What happened? O n April 17, a 2019 Model S crashed into a tree at about 11:25 p.m. in the Carlton Woods Subdivision on Hammock Dunes Place in Houston, TX . According to authorities, the Model S crashed into a tree after failing to navigate a turn at high speed
near 18 Hammock Dunes Place. The collision resulted in a ﬁre that took the local ﬁre department about four hours and more than 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish. Investigators found two victims from the incident, one sitting on the passenger seat and another in the back seat. What did witnesses say? K PR C 2 reporter Deven Clarke spoke to one of the victims’ brother-in-law, who stated the Tesla owner and a friend simply wanted to take the car out for a spin. The brother-in-law said there were just two people in the vehicle. He also added the Tesla owner backed out of the driveway and then may have hopped in the back seat before crashing a few hundred yards down the road. The owner was reportedly the person found in the back seat of the car. What have the police said? In a statement to K HO U -11, Harris County Pct. 4 Constable Mark H erm an said deputies who recovered the Tesla are certain the vehicle had
no driver when it collided with the tree. He also emphasized some of the authorities who responded to the incident were reconstructionists, and they were very conﬁdent there was no one driving the vehicle when it crashed. “They are 100% certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact. They are positive. And again, the height from the back seat to the front seat, that would be almost impossible, but again our investigators are trained. They handle collisions. Several of our folks are reconstructionists, but they feel very conﬁdent ust with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle,” Herman said. Was Autopilot involved? espite the inﬂammatory social media posts from some media outlets, it has not been determined yet if Autopilot had been active in the Model S when it collided with the tree. It should be noted the roads in the Carlton Woods Subdivision on Hammock Dunes Place do not seem to have visible lane lines, which is
a req uirement for Autopilot’s activation. R egular cruise control could be activated in such areas as per videos from Tesla owners, but Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features are generally inaccessible in a residential area, at least in their current state. Is the NTSB investigating the incident? In a statement to Bloomberg, National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Chris O ’ N eil conﬁrmed the NTS does not plan to open a new probe about the tragic incident. What happens when Autopilot in engaged and a driver unbuckles the seatbelt? O ne suggested scenario is the driver might have activated Autopilot and jumped into the back seat. This would have been a tricky maneuver as the driver would have had to unbuckle himself, which results in Teslas engaging their alerts and eventually coming to a stop. We thank T eslarati for reprint permission.
San Francisco Man Charged with Auto Body Shop Break-In, Safeway Store Shoplifting in Belmont, CA A 22-year-old San Francisco man pleaded not guilty April 13 to several charges after he allegedly broke into an auto body shop in Belmont, CA, and stole thousands of dollars of eq uipment on April 11, and then shoplifted from a grocery store in the city a day later, San Mateo County prosecutors said. A rm ani B lanco faces charges of burglary, vandalism and shoplifting following his arrest. He is accused of breaking into the E x treme A u to B od y shop at 1300 O ld County R oad around 10:20 p.m. April 11 and stealing two computers and two sensor tools worth a total of about $ 9 ,6 00, according to
istrict ttorney’s ﬃce. The shop owner discovered the break-in the next day and called police, and store surveillance footage showed Blanco breaking in and stealing the items, prosecutors said. O n April 12, Blanco allegedly stole $ 423 worth of groceries from a Safeway store in Belmont but was caught by police within minutes. He remains in custody and is set to return to court on April 27 for a preliminary hearing. We thank T he D aily J ou rnal for reprint permission.
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Chip Shortage Saga: Ford F-150 And Edge to Be Built Without Certain Electronic Modules by Brad Anderson, CarScoops
Ford will produce the F-150 pickup truck and E dge SU V without certain parts due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage. A Ford spokeswoman has conﬁrmed the automaker will build vehicles and hold them for several weeks until they can be completed and shipped to dealerships. The F-150 and E dge are being assembled without some electronic modules, although Ford did not specify the suppliers it sources these parts from. The same spokeswoman told R euters the parts needed are used to operate functions like the windshield wiper motors and infotainment systems. In response to the shortage, Ford is also canceling the late Thursday shift and both Friday shifts at its L ouisville Assembly Plant that builds the Ford E scape and L incoln Corsair. Production will resume on short shifts March 22 and return to full capacity March . Ford is also idling produc-
Continued from Cover
First EVs state and county agencies, could expedite government ﬂeet conversions and help lead the way for increased private adoption of E V .” “The partnership between the Hawaii Department of Transportation and the State nergy ﬃce in this important program demonstrates how state government can lead by example,” said Chief E nergy ﬃcer Scott Glenn. “Through this innovative contract, any state or county agency can take part in this. The State nergy ﬃce stands ready to help any agency through this so they can continue to lead on Hawaii’s clean energy economy.” E ach E V replacing an internal combustion engine vehicle will save an estimated 8,700 pounds of carbon dio ide annually. For this ﬁrst round of 10 E V s, that would be approximately 87,000 pounds of carbon dioxide that will not be released into the atmosphere. HDO T Highways will continue
It’s Official, Ferrari Will Have Its Fully Electric Supercar in 2025
tion at its Cologne, Germany site, where the Fiesta is built, on March 22, having previously idled production from March 1 through March 16 .
Word of Ford producing the F-150 and E dge without some parts comes shortly after it was conﬁrmed General Motors is building certain pickup trucks ﬁtted with its . -liter coTec engine without its Active Fuel Management system that handles cylinder deactivation. This will lower the fuel economy of impacted models by one mile per gallon. Ford has previously committed to prioritizing and allocating chips to its highest-margin vehicles like the F-150 when possible. We thank CarS coops for reprint permission.
to pursue electriﬁcation or elimination of its light duty ﬂeet within the next seven years. The current light duty ﬂeet is made up of vehicles statewide. The ﬂeet conversion will be used as an opportunity to reevaluate the need for these vehicles. By 2028 HDO T Highways, will either remove unnecessary internal combustion engine vehicles from the ﬂeet entirely or replace them with an E V . State and county agencies interested in learning more about the service contract or beneﬁts of conversions can visit https://hidot. hawaii.gov/highways/electric-vehicles/ for cost comparisons and contact information. Source: HDO T
by Fabienne Lang, Interesting Engineering
At Ferrari’s annual shareholder meeting April 15, interim CE O J ohn Elkann announced three new models will be revealed over 2021. And E lkann didn’t stop there: Ferrari will also unveil its ﬁrst fully electric supercar in 2025. That’s right, Ferrari will be developing an electric vehicle, and E lkann’s excitement is palpable: “[ ...] You can be sure this will be everything you dream the engineers and designers at Maranello can imagine for such a landmark in our history.” We have no doubt about it, Ferrari. It’s a clear goal in Ferrari’s electriﬁcation strategy, as lkann said, “We are continuing to execute our electriﬁcation strategy in a highly disciplined way.” It already showed its move toward E V s with its SF9 0 Stradale, the ﬁrst-ever Ferrari to feature lugin Hybrid E lectric V ehicle. You’ll have to keep biting your nails in anticipation because that’s about all the information E lkann
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and the Ferrari team disclosed about its upcoming E V . R egardless, it’ll surely be an impressive E V . What we do know, however, is Ferrari will be busy over the next few months as it unveils three new models into our midst. O n top of that, E lkann reiterated the news the team will return to e Mans in . In his words, E lkann explained how “This presents another opportunity for us to compete at the highest levels, testing the boundaries of technology on the track and then transferring our knowledge to the matchless pedigree and driving experience of a new generation of Ferrari road cars. ”The company is also still searching for a new CE O , who will undoubtedly have their hands full with all the exciting upcoming work Ferrari has already set out. Ferrari has been known for its meticulous engineering and design, and there’s little doubt it’ll continue doing so. We’re just excited to see what will be unveiled in the coming months and years. We thank I nteresting E ng ineering for reprint permission.
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KBB Names Brand Image Winners
Record-Breaking 78 AutoNation Dealerships Certified as J.D. Power 2021 Dealers of Excellence Demonstrating its commitment to exceeding customer expectations, AutoNation, Inc., America’s largest automotive retailer, on April 15 announced 78 AutoNation stores have been certiﬁed in the J .D. Power 2021 Dealer of E xcellence Program. This program recognizes a very selective number of retail dealerships throughout the U .S. that provide an exceptional customer sales experience and once again, AutoNation was the clear leader. “This certiﬁcation is an outstanding accomplishment for our teams. L ast year we set the bar with 54 stores receiving the J .D. Power Dealer of E xcellence recognition. These 54 stores again received the recognition with 24 new stores added this year. We could not be prouder,” said J im B ender, president and CO O at AutoNation. “This recognition ampliﬁes utoNation’s commitment to providing a peerless customer experience as the clear industry leader and every member of our
team shares in this achievement.” K nown for its “V oice of the Customer” research for more than 50 years, J .D. Power and, subseq uently, its Dealer of E xcellence Program help consumers identify leading retailers that will go the extra mile. According to J .D. Power, buying a vehicle is a signiﬁcant ﬁnancial transaction and can be stressful because there’s so much information to digest. The Dealer of E xcellence Program assists auto buyers who are looking for an exceptional dealership where they can conﬁdently buy a vehicle. ertiﬁed dealers also beneﬁt by leveraging the . . ower brand and promoting their dealership’s commitment to an outstanding customer purchase experience. Dealer of E xcellence is an exclusive program and not all dealerships can q ualify. Those that do must pass a three-step process. s the ﬁrst ualiﬁcation criterion, J .D. Power limits the percentage of eligible dealerships by
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nameplate based on each brand’s performance in the most recent J .D. Power U .S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Thus, proportionally more dealerships from top-performing brands can become a J .D. Power Dealer of E xcellence. Second, dealerships must rank among their brand’s top performers in key customer satisfaction areas consistent with measurements found in the SSI Study. Finally, q ualifying dealers must pass an audit to show they meet or exceed J .D. Power sales best practices. Those best practices include, but are not limited to, listing vehicle inventory and pricing on the dealership website, negotiating in an eﬃcient and transparent manner, oﬀering a fair trade-in value and presenting a clear and easy-to-understand menu of ﬁnance and insurance products.
K elley Blue Book on March 30 announced the 2021 Brand Image Award winners, based on annual new-car buyer perception data. Award categories are calculated among luxury, non-luxury and truck shoppers. For the second year in a row and the fourth time in the past six years, Subaru wins Best O verall Brand for 2021 among non-luxury automakers. Subaru achieved the highest average score across all ratings of non-luxury models to win the Best O verall Brand. After making a notable Brand Image Awards debut last year, Tesla once again dominates among luxury automakers for 2021. Tesla wins Best O verall L uxury Brand for the second year running, achieving the highest average score across all ratings of luxury models to win the award. Toyota wins Best O verall Truck Brand in 2021 for the third year in a row. Toyota achieved the highest average score across all ratings of truck models and 12 weighted factors of importance. S ou rce: K elley B lu e B ook
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autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 29
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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.
Have We Handcuffed Employees from Providing Extraordinary Customer Service? I’m concerned some of you may read the ﬁrst paragraphs of this column, and presume it’s about customer satisfaction inde ing SI ― it’s not―and decide to move on. O r you may think it’s about online reviews―it’s not, really―and decide to move on. So please stick with me here. I’m going to talk about CSI and online reviews, but only as an introduction. It’s no secret for years many insurance companies have conducted―or asked their direct repair shops to conduct― SI surveys. Many body shops track CSI on their own, regardless of whether a job is done under a or not. nd in recent years, more automakers have added CSI req uirements for the shops in their certiﬁcation programs. It all makes sense. Insurers and automakers want to make sure the mutual customers they refer to shops are being kept informed during repairs, are receiving their repaired vehicle back in a timely manner, etc. They want to make sure their brand is being protected. For shop owners, CSI makes good sense as well, particularly as a shop’s volume or location count increases. When I owned multiple shops, I used CSI to help identify “blind spots” in my business. Since I couldn’t touch every single car, CSI results helped me ensure my employees were providing the same q uality of repairs and customer service I would personally. So to be clear: CSI is useful and valuable. It’s helped our industry reach “net-promoter” scores that are better than those found in so many other industries. But I believe online reviews are becoming eq ually important for shops. Consumers increasingly have a “trust but verify” mentality. In a column I wrote a couple years ago, I shared a story about the time my friend Greg’s son and daughter-in-law didn’t go to a restaurant Greg had highly recommended, because that restaurant’s online reviews
weren’t as good as others the son looked up. Greg’s son used online reviews to verify whether his own father’s referral could be trusted. Given that, do you think consumers are going to trust a shop re-
ferral from an insurance company or an automaker without verifying by checking the shop’s online reviews? Maybe my 84-year-old father isn’t going to do check those reviews, but my niece in her s deﬁnitely will. So that makes online reviews increasingly important as these generational shifts continue. Part of what this brings to mind is something I learned from R y an Tay lor at Bodyshop Booster: “People are more afraid of making a wrong decision than they are of spending money.” Think about it: Have you ever passed over a lower-priced option for something you were buying because you were leery the cheaper one could be a mistake? Have you ever sorted your search results on Amazon based on average customer reviews rather than price? I know I have. And think about this: How much are online customer reviews inﬂuencing your ranking in search results? State Farm is among the insurance companies using a shop locator that now includes online review scores. Some of the automakers have done this as well. Anyone who Googles “best auto body shop near me” is going to see only shops with a four-star rating or better―even if others are closer. That search may bring up four or ﬁve shops, but if the consumer conducts a voice-activated search, their device is likely to suggest only the one shop―
the one with the best online reviews. I think connected cars are only going to accelerate the use of voice-activated search. Try it yourself: Ask your phone something like, “Hey, Siri, what’s the best auto body shop near me? ” Is your shop the one that’s suggested? But as I said at the start, my message here is about something bigger than CSI scores and online reviews. It’s about ﬁguring out how you can diﬀerentiate yourself by providing exceptional customer service, creating a memorable or―not to sound like isney―a magical e perience for your customers. Why? I think as an industry, most shops have developed ways to ensure customers will answer the three or four basic CSI q uestions positively.
We’ve found ways to keep them informed, to ensure their vehicle is returned on time, etc. That’s part of how CSI has made us better as an industry. And of course those things are, and will continue to be, very important elements to our business. But as we’ve crafted our customer service around just those things, I think we may have handcuﬀed our team, limiting how much they think outside the box in terms of providing exceptional, memorable service. That’s why I think the additional power of open-ended online customer reviews will open new opportunities for your business to set itself apart. What does that memorable or magical customer experience look like? I’ll be honest: I don’t know. In talking about this with my good friend R ay Chew at CCC In-
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formation Services, he told me he thinks it has to start from that ﬁrst point of contact, when we ﬁrst get that assignment or referral. From that point on, we need to be looking for opportunities to wow that customer, to turn what they might perceive as a bad situation into a great experience.
than I should have, I managed to drop one, cracking open a watermelon and most of a do en eggs―the eq uivalent of “one-time-use parts” in the world of groceries. About 20 minutes later, there was a knock at my door. There was the young grocery delivery guy with another watermelon and carton of
“People are more afraid of making a wrong decision than they are of spending money.” — Ryan Taylor An example: How often have we had a customer call to say they left their sunglasses or phone charger in their car when they dropped it at the shop? O nce you locate the item in the car, do you just tell them how late you are open if they want to pick it up―or does someone oﬀer to drop it oﬀ at their home or work It’s a little thing, but a kind, convenient gesture customers may well mention as part of a ﬁve-star online review. I can point to something similar in my own life recently. I had groceries delivered to my home, and in trying to pick up more of the bags
eggs for me. He wasn’t the person responsible for the busted groceries. He didn’t even work for the grocery store; he was a subcontractor who did this on his own. You better believe that turned an otherwise mundane transaction into a memorable experience to share in an online review. That’s the sort of thing your employees need to be empowered to do. It will be key to helping your business thrive as online reviews expand the customer experience beyond the basic building blocks of CSI.
MINI Will Switch to Fully-Electric Vehicles By Early 2030s by Andrei Nedelea, Inside EVs
Automakers are scrambling these days to not only churn out more and more electric and electriﬁed vehicles, but also to stop making fuel-burning vehicles as soon as possible. MINI seems like it’s one of the most ambitious in this regard, with the BMW-owned brand announcing its goal to launch its last-ever internal combustion-engined vehicle in , and to not have any more of them for sale by the early 2030s. The news was broken by O liver Z ip se, BMW chairman, who mentioned it during the BMW Annual Conference 2021 that mainly focused on the reveal of the production spec BMW i4 electric sedan. If MINI does stay true to the claims, it will rid itself of ICE q uicker than its parent brand, BMW, and it wants full E V s to account for half of its annual sales by the year 2027. R ight now, MINI only has one
pure-E V in its roster, the Cooper SE two-door, which will eventually be joined by a four-door hatch variant. However, MINI plans to launch more E V s after 2023 when it expects to complete work on a new electric car platform which it is jointly developing with China’s Great Wall Motors. The ﬁrst model to be underpinned by this new platform is believed to be the next-gen MINI Countryman, which will be sold both with ICE power as well as a fully-electric powertrain. BMW says this new Countryman crossover will debut in 2023 and will be assembled at BMW’s plant in L eipzig; electric MINIs will also be built in China starting the same year, through the collaboration with Great Wall. We thank Inside E V s for reprint permission.
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autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 31
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with Erica Schroeder
Industry Insight with John Yoswick
—John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). Contact him by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.
Deciding Between Leasing and Purchasing When Adding Shop Locations
Here’s a tip: Investors might be in- ment play,” while larger MSO s conterested in buying your shop’s real sider “eﬃciency of capital ―what estate. will get them a greater ﬁnancial rewith Ed Attanasio Gary Chou, executive vice turn. president of commercial real estate “There’s no right or wrong,” said brokerage ﬁrm Matthews eal state Chou, as long as someone purchasing Investment Services, said outside in- considers whether they would do betvestors such as real estate investment ter freeing up that money to open adtrusts (R E ITs) have recently begun to ditional shops. see collision shop properties “as a leW ill J ohnston, chief corporate with Ed Attanasio gitimate investment product.” development oﬃcer for Service ing, “That’s helped push values of agreed there’s not one deﬁnitive ancollision properties up, because it swer to the purchase-vs-lease q uesbasically increases the buyer pool tion. overall,” Chou said. “It really depends on where you Chou was speaking last fall are in your growth and how aggresduring the ﬁrst MS Symposium sively you’re growing,” J ohnston with Ed Attanasio panel discussion in the event’s nine- said. “You may decide that your year history focused on issues relat- pace of growth is such you want
Social Media for Shops
SEMA Show Goes On
an acq uisition, it’s the third-party landlords that can potentially really gum things up. Because they’re not the ones about to make a big payday. They may very well see it as their chance to renegotiate items within the lease.” Think carefully even about an arms-length lease you put in place with yourself or an aﬃliate , J ohnston said, because a buyer of your business may look at that lease and “expect those same terms.” Panelist B en H idalg o of Net ease evelopment agreed, suggesting anyone leasing commercial property to or from others ﬁnd an attorney who understands leasing for a speciﬁc use. collision repair business that has even just one poorly crafted lease among its two or three or 10 locations can get “held hostage” to that, particularly at the time the owner hopes to sell the business.
Media and Publicity for Shops with Ed Attanasio
“Get a good attorney, not just a friend who does it,” Hidalgo said. “ on’t skimp on that. Get an e pert in retail leasing, to get a lease that will protect you long-term.” n attorney with suﬃcient leasing experience will know what’s been problematic for other clients in the past, he said. D ean F isher, president of riven Brands’ collision group, which includes CAR STAR and Maaco, also oﬀered his take on the purchase-vslease decision during the panel discussion. He said most of his company’s franchisees have fewer than 10 locations and tend to buy the real estate at most or all of their shops. “Most of them look at real estate as a form of the asset base that they’re building, utilizing the business to pay for the asset base,” he said. “So they’ll typically try to purSee Leasing and Purchasing, Page 45
Shop Strategies with Stacey Phillips
Body Shops Giving Back
John Walcher, top left, of Veritas Advisors moderated a panel discussion on real estate issues related to growing collision repair businesses
with Stacey Phillips
ed to real estate―and the speakers to lease that property because you focused on some topics that could be want to save capital to go after addieq ually of interest to single-location tional shops. But if you’re growing collision repairers as well. with brownﬁelds and take-overs and The new interest among inves- will be adding a lot of value to the tors in body shop real estate, for facilities you take over or that you with Stacey Phillips e ample, oﬀers another option for build, you may want to beneﬁt from a shop owner who sells the business the value [ in the property] you put in to a large MS ―which is unlikely there as the operator.” to want to buy the real estate―and The terms of any lease can be wants to cash out the property rather very important, J ohnston said, parthan continue as landlord. ticularly when you decide to sell Much of thewith discussion centered your business. Stacey Phillips around whether a collision repairer “The lease you’re negotiating adding a shop location―whether a now might be the lease that you’re second or th―should purchase assigning over to a buyer of your or lease the new location’s building business later,” he said. “It will afand real estate. fect the valuation [ of the business] Chou said smaller MSO s often and certainly will aﬀect the ease of view the purchased land as “a retire- getting that deal done. Typically in
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Historical Snapshot with John Yoswick
Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
with Chasidy Rae Sisk
WIN Webinar Explores What’s NEXT for Auto Body in the Digital World
n International omen’s ay on hicles involved in accidents will be March 8, Elaina F arnsw orth, CE O more e pensive to ﬁ . of The NE X Twith E ducation, shared Chasidy Rae Sisk“R ange of vision is important to insights on “What’s NE X T for the think about as a repairer. We need to Future Autobody Worker in O ur know how the sensors interact and merging igital orld, during a what they’re expected to do,” Farnwebinar hosted by the Women’s In- sworth added. “Be careful of the dustry Network (WIN). sensors and the cameras when you “Never before have we seen repair connected vehicles―these with Rae Sisk such a change in how Chasidy transportation features provide enhanced safety has been done,” Farnsworth began. and mobility. ach have diﬀerent re“We are experiencing a wonderful q uirements for speed, security, disperiod of growth, and the industry tance and bandwidth.” needs as many women as Farnsworth believes it’s possible.” important for the collision Chasidy Rae Sisk repair industry to “underR eferencingwith technologies, such as intelligent instand where we are today frastructure, self-driving and but also where we’re going. autonomous vehicles and A lot of development is beconnected cars, Farnsworth ing done around WiFi and pointed out, “If we Chasidy don’t Elaina G, which will come to fruFarnsworth with Rae Sisk have technicians who really ition in the near future. It’s understand the technology, all this important to understand all the ways great technology is worthless. We fo- these vehicles communicate because cus on growing the person, who can it could impact your diagnosis. then become an agent of change and “ epairers will follow a diﬀergrow the industry.” ent diagnostic process with these vewith Chasidy Rae Sisk Connected vehicles (CV ) are hicles, and we need to think about cars that talk to one another. Many how we will need to diagnose them modern vehicles already include a diﬀerently as vehicles evolve. variety of wireless communications, Although automated and auinformation and entertainment sys- tonomous vehicles (AV s) are often tems, such as GPS, smartphone grouped together, they are not the with ChasidylinkRae Sisk ing and automated incident reporting. same. CV s provide the ability to eq uip ve“Automated refers to vehicles hicles with bidirectional communica- that have a capability to steer, acceltion using any protocol connectivity erate and brake under certain road, wirelessly, as well as the ability to al- weather and traﬃc systems, while a withtoChasidy Rae Sisk low vehicles access both wireless fully autonomous vehicles does not and networked devices inside and req uire a driver for any road, weathoutside of the vehicle itself. er or traﬃc condition, Farnsworth According to Frost & Sullivan, explained. “Currently, there are no of vehicles in North merica fully autonomous vehicles in the will have telematics capabilities by world; they are all level 4 and limitwith Chasidy Rae Sisk , and nearly of vehicles ed to dry, well-marked and generally will contain some sort of connected ﬂat roads in good weather and usualcapability by 2030. ly light traﬃc. Connectivity provides an opFarnsworth provided examportunity to optimi e traﬃc man- ples of systems found in automatagement, reduce collisions and pro- ed vehicles. Adaptive cruise convide travel information, according to trol down to a stop builds on basic with Ed Attanasio Farnsworth. adaptive cruise control but allows “There are a lot of electronics the system to function down to a going on inside a connected vehicle, full standstill, “an important next and though the industry is likely to step to manage bumper-to-bumper see fewer collisions in the future, ve- traffic,” she said.
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partnership announcements, as well as some mergers and acq uisitions,” Farnsworth said. “In addition to the traditional O E Ms, companies like Apple and Google are beginning to play a role in vehicle technologies; they’re even toying with the idea of building their own cars. L ots of new players are entering the market, and it’s deﬁnitely not going anywhere. As that segment of the industry grows, there will be more opportunities for others to join in.” E xplaining why CV s and AV s matter to repairers, Farnsworth said, “Sensor-based blind zone and cross traﬃc alerts get knocked around in crashes, and S are proliferating in lower-priced vehicles. All new light vehicles will have backup cameras, and the industry has agreed to make automatic braking and forward collision warning systems standard by 2022.
L ane-center steering builds upon lane-departure steering assist, which only intervenes as a vehicle approaches or crosses the lane markings. The lane-center steering system actively centers the vehicle in its lane by tracking lane markings and/or the vehicle ahead. Although these systems can often navigate mild curves, they typically req uire the driver’s hands to remain on the wheel and will issue warnings and eventually deactivate if they sense a lack of steering force. Hands-free steering centers the cars without req uiring the driver’s hands on the wheel, though it still req uires the driver to pay attention. O E Ms are currently leading development, with GM leading in execution for connected and automated vehicles, while Ford vaults ahead in strategy. “The news constantly reports
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“ eplacing a sensor torn oﬀ a car’s front end and swept up at a crash site can req uire a body shop diagnostic technician to go far beyond looking up a vehicle identiﬁcation number to see what S technology was original eq uipment.” R epairing AV s also req uires knowledge about repair and replacement of sensors, knowledge of electrical theory and information technology, and understanding of S technology. “ S assist drivers in driving and parking functions,” Farnsworth said. “Through a safe human-machine interface, S increase car and road safety, using automated technology, such as sensors and cameras, to detect nearby obstacles or driver errors, and respond accordingly. S are developed to automate, adapt and enhance vehicle systems for safety and better driving. Although cars with S are involved in fewer collisions, these systems are the costliest to repair.” iscussing the number of sensors on a modern vehicle, which can exceed 100, Farnsworth pointed out even the headlights and tires con-
tain sensors, and she predicted more sensors will be added to vehicles as they evolve. The addition of so many sensors necessitates scanning and calibration procedures. “Sensors are the eyes and ears of S, and when S need to be serviced, it req uires special eq uipment, operated by a specially trained technican,” she noted. “Many previously simple repairs now req uire S calibration, which includes cameras, sensors and controllers, and req uires specialized tooling and eq uipment.” Farnsworth reminded, “ S systems use multiple sensors, and all need to be validated to solve the problem. In addition to the increased cost, the vehicle often req uires a recalibration of the entire system, an additional cost.” How does this impact the collision repair industry? “As connected, automated and autonomous and smart cars rapidly increase, so does the demand for knowledgeable leaders, certiﬁed and credentialed employees, and skilled workers with access to the latest information, since new technologies
are being released every day,” Farnsworth said. “Collisions are projected to reduce, but the cost to repair will increase. The repair process will include the need to recalibrate sensors, which req uires consistent up to date information on new technologies and real-world experience to stay relevant.” Before ending with a Q & A session, Farnsworth encouraged attendees to “Get involved! Find out about the latest technologies available and where you can receive training. There are so many opportunities in this ﬁeld, and we need to understand the various issues happening as we connect vehicles with G and satellites. iscover a new passion that will lead you into the new future of transportation.” For more information on The NE X T E ducation, visit thenexted. com. WIN will hold its 2021 Scholarship Walk virtually, April 18 through May 2. The 2021 WIN E ducational Conference, also held virtually, is scheduled for May and . For more information on WIN, visit www.womensindustrynetwork.com.
GM Earns 2021 ENERGY STAR Award General Motors announced April 13 it has received the 2021 E NE R GY STAR Partner of the Year Sustained E xcellence Award from the U .S. E nvironmental Protection gency and the .S. epartment of E nergy for the 10th year. The Sustained E xcellence Award is the highest honor bestowed by the E NE R GY STAR program. In 2010, GM committed to a reduction in carbon intensity by 2020, which was met early in 2017. And in J anuary, GM Chairman and CE O Mary B arra announced accelerated energy goals, including the sourcing of renewable energy to power GM facilities in the U .S. by , and globally by . The company also recently announced plans to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040 and its aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by . S ou rce: G M
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CCC’s 2021 Crash Course Report Offers a Glimpse of the ‘New Normal’ by Ed Attanasio
What will the “new normal” look like and how will it aﬀect the collision repair industry? The I - pandemic has forced businesses to evaluate key issues such as supply-chain sourcing, telecommuting and how to work with insurance partners, vendors and customers. Get ready for increasing S technology, fewer drivers on the road and more severe accidents due to speeding and reckless driving. In addition, more people will continue to work at home and, as a result, change the types of car insurance they choose. R ecently, CCC Information Services, Inc. (CCC) unveiled its annual Crash Course report, the cumulation of a full year of research, analysis and looking for trends that can potentially impact the industry for many years to come. The person behind the report is ’s irector and Industry nalyst Susanna Gotsch, who authors the report every year. She wrote the ﬁrst one in , when S was still in its infancy.Today, many shop owners worldwide covet the information presented in CCC’s Crash Course report. If you’ve been in the collision industry for more than a few years, you know CCC’s Crash Course report provides revealing industry-leading insights on the business, consumer, environmental and technology trends shaping the P& C insurance economy. This year’s report provides a substantive view of how I reshaped the industry with shifts in driving behavior, attitudes toward personal mobility, adoption of telematics-enabled usage-based insurance, and exponential growth in the digitization of operations across the claims and repair experience. “Crash Course illustrates how I impacted our industry and the trajectory of change moving forward,” Gotsch said. “CCC has published Crash Course for 26 years and this edition reveals unprecedented change. And though we expect some changes, like miles driven, to revert to pre-pandemic levels, we project other changes will
become the new baseline, as photos, mobile, AI and customer demands have reset expectations and changed how we work. “To help make sense of the rapidly changing market dynamics and accelerating innovations, the Crash Course team is evolving how we bring information to you,” she said. “We’re excited to deliver a uniq ue Crash Course report each q uarter in 2021, sharing the most current data
available and even timelier insights for the auto industry and related ecosystem, how people decide to buy, own, insure and drive their cars will determine, in part, how we move forward as an industry. “How these interconnected decisions and data points are shifting and changing as a result of the I pandemic is important to monitor and frame in the reference of what we are seeing in the market right now.” The 130-page report draws insights from decades of experience from processing more than 200 million claims-related transactions, billion miles of driving data and millions of auto BI and PIP/MedPay casualty claims. CCC is committed to providing the industry with information and data to create more visibility into what’s ahead, informing understanding to positively impact business outcomes. K ey topics covered in Crash Course 2021 include: The rise of tech-enabled I customer e periences in insurance how I became the spark for consumers to take another look at usage-based insurance; why 2020 saw more severe accidents and the impact on the repair process I - ’s impact on the casualty claims process and health care, and the role of vehicle technology in increasing repair costs. When people stopped driving
last March, Gotsch witnessed some very distinctive trends that appeared overnight. “E verything that happened was the byproduct of the fact that people stopped driving,” she said. “It meant that there was less congestion, which led to things such as erratic driving habits, speeding and more cases of distracted driving. “There were more younger drivers on the road than normal because elderly people were also driving less due to their compromised health and other reasons. Younger drivers eq ual more distracted driving, as well as drunk driving and drug-related driving. It led to a riskier, faster and more dangerous cocktail of driving behavior. “California and less-populated states such as Wyoming and Nebraska reported a huge spike in the total number of citations that were written for drivers who were driving in excess of 100 mph, for example.
“The numbers of people who die every year in this country are eq uivalent to a 747 crashing every day without any survivors, but people don’t seem to want to understand how broad the devastation actually is,” Gotsch said. “People say that it’s more dangerous driving to the airport as opposed to getting on a plane.” As previously noted, the I - pandemic led to a significant decline in claims and congestion, logically leading to fewer but more expensive claims. Consumer preference for light trucks and vehicles loaded with the newest technology forged ahead, further driving repair complexity and higher costs. When a claim did happen, insurers oﬀered customers new curated digital capabilities embedded with AI, helping accelerate overall cycle time at the front end by enabling the customer to make faster and more informed decisions. In 2020, carmakers didn’t slow down when it came to developing new S technology, which
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means shops have to be more knowledgeable than ever about the newer models in order to survive. “With rising repair complexity and costs, repair cycle times continue to grow,” Gotsch said. “Customer satisfaction with a repair typically falls as repair costs rise, as does a customer’s corresponding satisfaction with the insurer’s handling of the claim and the customer’s willingness to recommend that shop or insurer. As repair costs rise, consumers may need more freq uent updates to feel informed, and potentially increase the average service score.” Post-pandemic changes in people’s lifestyles will directly aﬀect shops’ car counts for many years to come. “No one really knows how long it will take before people will feel safe enough to return to something resembling pre-pandemic life; what is clear is that things are likely to be diﬀerent, Gotsch said. “ ith the option for more individuals to work from home in the future, people may choose to relocate to be closer to family, ﬁnd less e pensive housing or other reasons, as we saw early in
the pandemic. “This could potentially slow the shift toward urban areas that the U .S. experienced over the last decade. Many do anticipate some share of remote work in the U .S. will be permanent.” People will continue to work at home or virtually in 2021 and beyond. If appro imately of obs could be done remotely, but workers chose to do so only one day per week, there would still potentially be an impact to daily travel. O verall miles driven and trips taken might not see a signiﬁcant decline, but more telework would still lead to fewer rush hour trips, less congestion in urban areas and freer movement of remaining traﬃc, Gotsch said. “In many ways, the pandemic environment has actually given us some idea of what the future may look like, and what that means to our industry, she said. “ espite an estimated $ 18 billion in auto premiums returned to customers because of the pandemic, the percent of consumers that indicated they were ‘ very satisﬁed’ with their auto insurance carrier fell from in late March
by the end of ugust. s of early ecember, a study conducted by E NGINE CAR AV AN found of vehicle owners continued to drive less, with of those who reported driving less posting at least a decline in miles driven, according to CCC’s Crash Course report. Not surprisingly, interest in user-based insurance (U BI) policies grew as people recognized they were driving less and wanted more transparency around how their policies were priced. In their annual reports submitted to NHTSA, automakers also showed just how far they have come toward eq uipping vehicles with the building blocks for full vehicle autonomy and S. S includes technologies such as front crash prevention or warning, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, park assist, back-over prevention, obstacle detection and autonomous emergency braking. The reports are submitted annually by the 20 manufacturers that pledged to e uip at least of their light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of , lbs. or less
with the crash avoidance technology by the production year of 2022. “ hen S technology went mainstream a few years back, the collision repair industry was put out on the front lines ﬁrst, versus mechanical repair, which is unusual,” Gotsch said. “The main challenges for body shops are daunting because the s have diﬀerent names for these systems and with consumer demand high, they’re all packaged diﬀerently and operate diﬀerently. “So, understanding what’s going on with a car when it comes into your shop and then trying to ﬁ it―these are some pretty signiﬁcant challenges. The q uestion is where and what should you invest in, or should you use a third-party company to do your diagnostics? ” 2020 was a year of q uestions; will 2021 provide us with some of the answers as we emerge from these uncertain times To ﬁnd out more, get a hold of the CCC Crash Course report to anticipate trends before they aﬀect you.
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CAA Supports AB 471 for Accountability, Accessibility, Transparency To this end, BAR has responded and has successfully developed AB 471 is a multi-faceted piece of the Auto Shop L ocator, a new molegislation created to address con- bile-friendly search tool that alsumer protection and transparency lows consumers to perform locawithin the automotive repair indus- tion-based searches for automotive try. repair dealers, ﬁlter results by the Among other things, it will sig- type of services needed and q uickly niﬁcantly enhance state ureau of verify if a licensee is on probation or Automotive R epair (BAR ) programs the subject of a pending accusation. for consumers, protect consumers O ne of the goals of AB 471 will from unsafe salvage vehicle repairs, be to support and expand the consumer protection and transparency of this platform. J ack Molodanof , registered lobbyist for CAA and the president of Molodanof Government R elations in Sacramento, CA, has watched this bill as it’s gone through several reincarnations. Molodanof believes the California Assembly Member Evan Low authored AB 471 to bill will be good for all address consumer protection and transparency within the automotive repair dealers, automotive repair industry including auto body shops, improve the current citation and ﬁne that go by the rules, while making regulatory program and allow for a shady operators responsible for submore eﬃcient and e pediated disci- par repairs. plinary processes. “O ne of the goals of AB 471 is The California Autobody As- to make it easier for consumers to sociation (CAA) supports this bill ﬁnd out which shops have training because it protects consumers, im- and educational credentials to propproves the current BAR citation and erly and safely perform repairs beﬁne process and streamlines disci- fore they decide where to take their plinary hearings while preserving vehicles,” he said. due process. AB 471 will allow BAR to colThe bill was authored by Cali- lect additional information from aufornia Assembly Member Evan Low tomotive repair dealer application, th ssembly istrict, San ose including educational and training and Silicon V alley.) L ast year, AB certiﬁcations that are nationally rec, also authored by ow, was in- ognized and generally accepted by the troduced but paused in order to allow auto repair industry― S , I, to address the Trusted ealer etc. It also will combine the current ertiﬁcate portion of that bill. brake and lamp program and rename by Ed Attanasio
EV Market Declined in 2020 hile the ﬂeet market took a hit like most other industries due to the pandemic, the electric vehicle sales declined by only compared to the overall vehicle sales decline of in , said eroe Inc. The ﬂeet management companies and car leasing companies are steadily increasing their dependency on electric vehicles as large MNCs have started framing electric vehicle policies. These car ﬂeet management companies are piloting E V s in multiple countries and providing incen-
it the vehicle safety inspection program, provide BAR the authority to develop additional inspection criteria standards for safety systems through regulations and allow for electronic transmittal of the brake and lamp certiﬁcates to M . Among other things, AB 471 will enable BAR to establish a fair appeal process for citation and ﬁnes by establishing an independent review panel that includes a consumer, BAR representative and representative from the auto repair industry. In addition, it will provide for an automotive repair shop that receives a citation to attend educational training, certiﬁed by , which will remove the citation from BAR ’s website, similar to traﬃc school. The bill will allow BAR to certify these remedial training providers. It will also allow administrative law judges to be pre-assigned to hear BAR cases. “This will allow for expediate hearings for auto repair shops rather than having to wait for years to resolve,” Molodanof said.
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It will allow BAR to hire inhouse attorneys to handle preparation of accusations to revoke auto repair shop licenses, rather than the attorney general. “This will streamline the current process and resolve cases q uicker while maintaining the auto body shop’s right to due process,” he said. also clariﬁes a person req uired to have a valid BAR license shall not have the beneﬁt of any lien for labor or materials, including the ability to charge storage fees or right to sue, unless the person possesses a valid BAR license. Along with CAA, these associations support AB 471 and applaud L ow for his leadership in authoring this important legislation: Automotive Service Councils of California, California Automotive Wholesalers’ Association, Auto Care Association, Coalition for Automotive R epair E q uality, Automotive Service Association, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association and Motor and E q uipment Manufacturers Association.
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with Ed Attanasio
Shop Strategies with Stacey Phillips
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 email@example.com.
How a Shop Owner Enhanced Employee Culture While Providing Outstanding Service During COVID-19
Body Shops Giving Back
ing time looking at disaster loans or We got stuck on all reading one was obviously a milestone of educaClay H oberecht, owner of B est B od y S hop in K ansas, said he is crazy about Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) book for a while, but now we’re tion that has made a major change in loans and ﬁguring out what the best choosing separate books. I’m read- our shop’s culture. three things: his with customers, their cars Stacey Phillips ﬁt is. ther times, it is working on ing “Never Split the iﬀerence by and his team. How did you adapt your busiChris Voss. A couple of guys just “We want rabid fans, not just the shop ﬂow, learning how to ﬁ vehicles better, training or spending ﬁnished reading “ an’t Hurt Me by ness once it opened again? satisﬁed customers, said Hoberecht. D avid Gog g ins. With a passion for repairing ve- time with the team. We shut down for 40 days and When we opened the shop Another good book is “The hicles correctly, Hoberecht said his back up to the public, it was team works hard to provide outstand- used that time as an opportunity Five ysfunctions of a Team by with Stacey Phillips ing customer service by maintaining to continue moving forward in our P atrick Lencioni. That author also like a fren y. e oﬀered a discount wrote a book called “Get- to customers, which was a big part of a culture of humility and expertise. ting Naked,” which is about how we became busy really q uickly. “We are driven to succeed and being transparent with your That busy-ness stayed for q uite a few have a hunger for knowledge,” he teammates. That one, in months. said. uring the presidential race, we particular, has made a sigHoberecht and his wife, B arbanoticed a major slump and the shop niﬁcant diﬀerence in our ra, started the Wichita business in a with Stacey Phillips slowed down. There was a lot of tenshop’s culture. 2,700-sq uare foot facility in 2014. R ecently, I was talking sion in the air and I don’t think people O ver the years, the operation exto Mike, my painter, about cared about the aesthetics of their vepanded. They eventually purchased being vulnerable and trans- hicle. nce that passed―whether or the building next door, increasing parent with each other. We not you liked the results―it seemed their space to 10,000 sq uare feet both felt that our team now there was a little bit of pressure reand focusing on collision repair, Clay and Barbara Hoberecht opened Best Body Shop in has a better level of trust lieved in the market and business body painting, paintless dent repair Wichita, KS, in 2014 with Victoria Antonelli than we ever had. There ramped up again. , car restoration, hail damage business and not retract it. uring and other services. A u tob od y N ew s asked Hoberecht that 40 days, we rebuilt the enhow the shop owner has enhanced tire shop, invested in new Spanesi his culture with employees during eq uipment and tools, and focused I - while providing outstand- on training and Standard O perating Procedures (SO Ps). ing customer service. RN The right part makes the difference. with Ed Attanasio SOUTHE Timothy W. Morgan, chief ophen the pandemic ﬁrst erating oﬃcer at Spanesi mericas, broke out a year ago, how did was instrumental in helping Best Body Shop achieve this. Things are you and your wife react? going exceptionally well right now. Without a shadow of a doubt, What steps did you take to the last year has been intense. with Gary build a team environment and Between the political issuesLedoux and I - , the market has been how has it impacted the culture at your shop? volatile. The No. 1 thing Barb and I did I wanted to get to know my right oﬀ the bat when we very ﬁrst employees better and found started seeing a downturn in the economy is we immediately went this was a great opportunity to do withwith Stacey Phillips that. As a team, we began to read a into protection mode our busiwww.KiaofCarson.com www. ww w.Kiao Kiiao K aofC fC Caar arso son n..co com ness. We made the decision to have lot of books about culture, trust and no retraction whatsoever and agreed building a team that can reply on one another. Then we discussed what we to move forward no matter what. From then on, we made sure learned. • Genuine Kia OEM Parts • Efficient Service on All Orders I shared my heart with the team that every move we made was not a • Fast & Free Delivery • Find us on: retraction. We were able to hold each and told them that I didn’t want to & be the one picking out the books all other accountable, and the team was with Mike Anderson Fax: 310.507.8595 the time. This isn’t a school and I’m able to hold us accountable. Sometimes, moving forward not their dad. I wanted to see their Hours: Monday-Saturday 7am-7pm / Sunday 8am-5pm doesn’t mean getting a lot of cars interest in personal growth and I’m 22020 Recreation Rd. • Carson, CA 90745 in the shop. It might mean spend- happy to say that we’ve seen that.
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From the Desk of Mike Anderson
40 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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We’ve also noticed a ramp-up in our production ability because of the trust we built with the employees. I felt like we had a strong culture before, but it is mind-blowing that enhancing it during I has made such a diﬀerence. It’s like we are a well-oiled machine.
What are some of the procedures you’ve implemented for customers?
We’ve had an appreciation for our customer base but that has grown over time, especially now. Customers come in and tell us that they want to support small businesses and we want to show our appreciation to them. As a result, we have done anything and everything we can to go above and beyond for customers. This includes providing a concierge service. We have been a lot more open to picking up and delivering people. O ur customer service representative (CSR )’s main focus is to build relationships with customers. We spent a tremendous amount
of time consistently going over what can we do that is above and beyond. O nce a month, Barbara, myself and J osh, our CSR , sit down and pick ﬁve customers who have either referred work to our shop or had their car repaired here. We do tremendous research to ﬁnd out what they like and purchase a gift for them. We’ve bought autographed jerseys, baseballs, barbecue kits and even a gun holster. We want to show our appreciation to those who are supporting our business. uring times of e treme behavior, such as I - , there are extremes on both sides. As a result, I’ve seen more giving hearts and more empathy and sympathy than I’ve ever seen. We want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem no matter what is going on that is creating this craziness in society. We have no desire to compete with other shops. We want to dominate and compete with ourselves.
What is your advice to other shop owners who are reinventing their business right now due to I -
I receive a tremendous amount of phone calls from shops across the country. Many people I talk to struggle with how to ﬁ a car correctly or ﬁnd time for the training needed to learn how do it. Now is the time to do that. I see too many people utilizing this time as an excuse to fail. uring the most challenging times over the last year, there were nerve-racking times. We reminded ourselves that the only way to fail was to q uit. So, as long as we didn’t q uit, we should be good. And if we’re not, at least we left it all out on the ﬁeld. ltimately, that was a successful strategy for us. Throughout this time, I’ve grown a passion for helping the industry and I welcome other shops to reach out to me. We’re all in this together.
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Nominations Open for NABC Awards The National Auto Body Council announced it is opening the nominations for its 2021 awards, the NABC Changing and Saving L ives Award and the NABC President’s Award. The NABC President’s Award is designed to honor the NABC member company that supports the vision of the National Auto Body Council through donation of their time and resources. Companies will be nominated by the N oard of irectors, and members at all levels of NABC membership are eligible. The NABC Changing and Saving L ives Award recognizes the individual in the collision repair industry who has delivered exemplary service in the NABC mission of Changing and Saving ives very ay, far beyond their role in the industry. Individuals may be nominated by a member of the N oard of irectors or by the public. The winners will be named during the annual SE MA Show in L as V egas. Nominations will run through ug. . Source: NABC
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Historical Snapshot with John Yoswick
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Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
ASA Bonus Webinar Explores Value of Return to Work Programs
O n March 31, ASA hosted a spe- according to i arlo. “This tends of the program, making adjustments cial bonus webinar, “Importance of to create a stronger sense of loyalty where needed. a R eturn to Work Program for Your long-term. Also, employees are able Finally, distribute the plan. with Chasidy Rae Sisk Bottom L ine,” featuring N ick D i- to maintain a productive mindset be- Make sure the R TW program is easCarlo, vice president, regional sales cause they feel that they’re contribut- ily accessible to all employees. director, AmeriTrust CO NNE CT. ing to the team, and that will beneﬁt “Make sure everyone underE xplaining the purpose of a them personally more than sitting stands it’s in place and how it works,” return to work (R TW) program, he around, doing nothing.” i arlo said. “ mployees, including deﬁned it as “a return to health and with Chasidy Rae Sisk happiness.” “Getting back to work and doing their job within their When employees are absent on workers’ compensation insurance, it physical limitations helps them recover faster and get impacts the productivity of the shop back to their regular duties quicker.” — Nick DiCarlo and the business’ bottom line. R TW programs allow employees to return Chasidy Rae SiskSo how can a shop put a R TW new hires, should sign and date acto their normalwith or modiﬁ ed ob duties as q uickly and safely as possi- program in place? knowledgement forms to reduce the ble, minimizing the indemnity of a First, know the facts―conduct shop’s liability.” claim. preliminary research about R TW Being back at work aids in reIn addition to lowering costs of programs to learn about the potential covery. workers’ compensation, studies have for costs savings and how to adapt “O ften, people on workers’ with Chasidy Rae Sisk proven allowing injured employees the programs to meet your compa- compensation are just sitting around, to return to their regular schedule ny’s needs. which doesn’t help them recover,” and environment, albeit with possiNext, gather data by asking coi arlo said. “Getting back to work ble limitations based on doctor rec- workers their thoughts on R TW pracommendations, helps them get back tices to determine how much work to their normal with duties faster as well. will be needed. Chasidy Rae Sisk i arlo e plained the beneﬁts Then, demonstrate a commit“R TW programs reduce employee ment to early R TW, but be sure to days away from work, enables them clarify the company is committed to to recover more q uickly, and it fos- the recovery process above all else. ters a positive work environment, reate clearly deﬁned goals and obalso showing other jectives for the program so employwithemployees Chasidyhow Rae Sisk much you care. These programs re- ees know what to expect, and appoint duce the ﬁnancial impact of work- a team to lead the R TW initiative, setplace injuries, improve your ability ting expectations and communication Right Part. to manage an injury claim and any channels. Right Price. restrictions, and increase produc“In a small shop, the owner may with Rae Sisk Right Now. tivity by getting yourChasidy experienced be the whole team, i arlo acemployees back to work. R TW pro- knowledged. grams also allow you to keep in reguevelop a workﬂow chart that lar communication with your injured outlines the R TW program, and use employees, while keeping them pro- the workﬂow to identify the ne t ductive.” steps, eliminating confusion in the so. california with Chasidy Rae Sisk The employee also beneﬁts. ith R TW process. R TW programs, the employee retains Next, develop and maintain a full earning capacity; in most states, job bank to include a list of possiVAN NUYS employees on workers’ compensa- ble transition roles for injured emtion make about of normal wag- ployees returning to work. A comes. They maintain their regular work munication and education plan is 818-778-2090 Fax schedule, do notwith need to depend on a also needed to ensure employees Ed Attanasio disability system and have a greater are aware of their job responsibilisense of security and stability. ties, both before and after an injury “R TW programs make team occurs, both while limited and folTrust Your Order to the members feel that you care about lowing recovery. K eep a transitional Collision Parts Specialists Above. them and getting them back to work,” duty database to measure the success
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and doing their job within their physical limitations helps them recover faster and get back to their regular duties q uicker.” The employee’s doctor will determine what limitations exist and an appropriate guideline for them to return to work. The employee will agree to provide this information to the shop owner as part of the acknowledgements; however, the shop owner cannot reach out to the employee’s doctor directly. i arlo wrapped up “ T programs provide a positive ﬁnancial impact on the company’s bottom line, which allows for things like raises and bonuses. It’s important to show your team that this beneﬁts everyone, not ust the business. Before the webinar concluded, i arlo brieﬂy mentioned the upcoming launch of AmeritrustconSee Value of Return, Page 50
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SEMA Show Goes On with Ed Attanasio
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4C Collision Consulting Focuses on Growing MSOs Through Strategic Marketing Craig Cam acho has seen it all in the collision repair industry, so I felt during his career in collision repair, at home working in a body shop,” he and has learned over the years what said. “The people at Collision SpecialStacey Phillips works and whatwith doesn’t. ties were continually shocked when To share his marketing, advertis- I could get the customer’s keys even ing and public relations skills gleaned before I even wrote the estimate. Sales by working for several MSO s, Cama- is the same regardless of the service or cho started 4C Collision Consulting, product I’m selling and, in this case, L L C to help large chains and small I realized I was selling myself and it with Stacey Phillips independents alike. was all about building trust with the amacho, , discovered he customer.” had sales skills at age 10, and hasn’t For the next 22 years, Camacho looked back. held several job titles for dealer-related collision centers and mid-size and large MSO s. He learned from many of his employers and taught a with Stacey Phillips lot to some of them as well, he said. “I was lucky because in some cases, I was able to take the reins and create my own marketing systems and they worked. Whether it’s a big MSO or a small independent, the principles are still the same,” Camawith Stacey Phillips cho said. “E verywhere I worked, I stressed things like community involvement, team building events and charitable programs, while implementing uniq ue and out-of-the-box Craig Camacho started 4C Collision Consulting marketing in the mix.” this year to help large chains and small indeA u tob od y N ew s sat down recentpendents with their marketing, advertising and with Victoria Antonelli public relations ly with Camacho to glean some takeaways any shop can use. “First, I sold greeting cards and vegWhat are three things any etable seeds door-to-door and did shop should do as part of their very well,” he said. “When I turned 12, I started selling the Bulletin, the marketing, advertising and public/ premier daily newspaper in Phila- community relations? with Ed Attanasio delphia at the time. The Sunday ediCreating and maintaining a tion was so large, I had to load them Facebook social media page all in the front basket of my bicycle, which took two runs to get them all and enhanced website that engage your potential customers are the obvidelivered.” To ﬁnd a career in which he ous ones that work well, but there are could use his ability to sell things, many other things that can be done. with Gary Ledoux amacho looked at diﬀerent forms Here are a few suggestions. Getting involved within the of retailing. First, he landed a job at a paint store and was the No. 1 guy communities where your shop or there rather q uickly, then worked at shops reside―this can be done by a series of car dealerships, before hosting a weekend car wash and raiseventually migrating to the collision ing money for a local charity. O nce I committed to doing this it became side. with aStacey Phillips an annual event, and both the charCamacho landed job at Collision S pecialties in Glenolden, PA, as itable organization and the car wash an estimator and was q uickly man- customers paid it back in dividends with their auto claims business! aging the shop. Becoming part of your local “I realized that it’s all about sales
Body Shops Giving Back
Tips for Busy Body Shops My SEMA
Chamber of Commerce, networking business groups and being on the board of charities proved to be very eﬀective. These come with either annual low-cost dues or no fees at all, but they enable your shop’s representative to shine your business in the brightest of ways. Attending meetings and discussing challenges these organizations may be experiencing will illustrate the fact you and your team are problem-solvers and valuable members of the community.
What are some of the things shops are currently doing (marketing, advertising, special events, social media) that don’t work, and why?
Many shop owners believe spending money on radio and/or TV advertising will bring them customers. Advertising this
way may have an upside if you’re consistent and willing to invest in it, but advertising on the radio or TV is diﬃcult to track when trying to calculate your R O I. Many shop owners take the time to create their own social media pages, but then they don’t maintain them, and it ends up doing more harm than good. Social media is more important than ever, so I always make sure I have someone who regularly posts articles, events and news. Anything we post is designed to keep our customers engaged and coming back for more.
If an MSO wants to grow, what are the most important things to keep in mind?
Most MSO s don’t become MSO s without relationships with insurance companies, also
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From the Desk of Mike Anderson
44 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
with Mike Anderson West_Issue_0521.indd 44
4/20/2021 6:07:45 PM
the ocial on’t doocial ever, mecles, post mers ore.
known as s. These relationships can be very fruitful when looking to grow in diﬀerent areas. Insurers will tell you where they need coverage, and as long as your shop produces the K PIs (key performance indicators) acceptable to them, they have the ability to add your new shop to their program. If the MSO wants to grow with the intention of being sought after and a target of a consolidator for an actual sale, paramount is making sure everything in the organization seems as one and all processes and people in place are hitting the mark. O nce this is accomplished, duplication can then happen, and the growth can begin. Any MSO knows the due diligence re uired to ﬁnd the right location is as important as the growth itself.
ome hips also
u’re n it, is cal-
Is conventional advertising eﬀective for body shops, such as radio/TV and print?
The only time this type of advertising is eﬀective is when it is consistently done for brand
awareness, which ends up being very costly. E ven when done correctly, it is the hardest marketing strategy to measure in terms of R O I.
If you entered a shop, as a consultant, and they were doing zero marketing, where would you steer them and why?
First and foremost, I would make sure they were properly branded. Branding is extremely important because it separates your business from the competition and creates a connection with your customers. O nce accomplished, I would steer them to create an online presence ASAP. A great website, social media presence and some SE O go a long way and are very aﬀordable in the big picture of a marketing budget. Making sure your shop or shops can be found on Google and other search engines is no longer an option but expected by those who are looking for reputable shops in their area. There are many other low costs avenues that can serve the independent shops and MSO s out there q uite well.
Continued from Page 32
Leasing and Purchasing chase the real estate as part of their retirement or sale model.” He said real estate in this industry is uniq ue, often req uiring many modiﬁcations to a property, lease-holder improvements that may make leasing less advantageous. “When you purchase a piece of property, often that mortgage is less than you would be leasing it for on a triple net lease,” he said. “There can be some proﬁtability that you can speciﬁcally take out of that payment to yourself that creates some favorable tax opportunities for you.” All that said, there are some risks involved in purchasing the real estate, Fisher noted: E PA risks if it is a brownﬁeld, oning issues, easements, tying up too much wealth in the industry even if it’s in two diﬀerent asset classes. “Too many don’t weigh the potential cost of all that,” he said. He also cautioned anything driving up real estate values does not automatically increase the lease payment
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a shop owner who sells the business but retains the real estate can expect from the new shop operators. That remains “contingent big-time” on the cash ﬂow of the business, so a period of business retraction “devalues the lease value” as well, Fisher said. J ohnston said there is one set of circumstances when it is often in your best interest to purchase shop real estate: when your landlord on a property is considering selling to someone else. “You might have had a cozy relationship with that landlord. It might even be someone who sold you the business,” J ohnston said. “ ut if they’re now ﬂipping that real estate, you have to consider whether the person buying that real estate is buying it because they want you there as a long-term tenant, or if they are buying it because they want to redevelop that property. “It may be advantageous to you to consider buying it if you think there’s a risk of losing what is otherwise a very valuable operational asset. No one wants to have to go ﬁnd another body shop and relocate a successful operation.”
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Historical Snapshot with John Yoswick
Associations Assembling with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting Paid Starts at the Beginning of the Process: MSCRA Hosts Collision Hub for Estimating Training each vehicle req uires 26 to 32 Southeast able; News measurements minimum, adding an-
“You get to decide what you want to charge and what line items to put on an estimate,” K risten F elder Rae of with Chasidy Collision Hub said during an estimating training session, taught by Larry Montanez I I I of Collision Hub and hosted by the Mississippi Collision R epair Association (MSCR A). with Chasidy Rae “Getting paid is part of the process that has to start at the beginning when you write your preliminary estimate,” she said.
to for suspension and at least 10 more if there’s front damage.” Finally, the shop should classify the vehicle repair as fast, q uick or extended. Fast repairs tend to be cosmetic, while a q uick repair is something that “needs to be sent to Sisk the triage department and req uires a bench measurement or q uick tug to something before it gets repaired,” Montanez explained. “An extended repair is something like a frame rail or q uarter panel. with Chasidy Rae Sisk O nce you acq uire all the data, you should be able to calculate how much time the car will need to be in the shop.” Next, research repair prowith Chasidy Rae Sisk cedures by V IN, and review the O E M’s build sheet, safety precautions, post-collision inspections and construction design, including substrates with Chasidy Rae Sisk and materials. It’s also important to be familiar with the S systems installed in the vehicle and any speciﬁc repair protocols as well Referencing a 2007 Dodge Ram which required a bedside as mechanical and electrical panel replacement, Montanez compared photos of an with Chasidy Raeof Sisk information. original panel and a new panel, provided courtesy Logan Payne from Payne & Sons in Dallas, TX When starting to write the report, Montanez recMS ecutive irector ommends reading the p-pages, startJ osh K ent introduced Montanez, who ing with the right group and then examined the six steps to completing staying in that group of operations with Chasidy Rae Sisk a damage report: gather information before moving to the next logical and data, look up procedures, report group and adding items for group by keeping it in the family, disassem- operations. Items that apply to the ble vehicle for review, adjust review entire vehicle should be placed report, and ﬁnali e report with team. in Miscellaneous O perations, and Gathering information and data notes should be made on operations with Chasidy Rae Sisk begins with learning the facts of as needed to ensure anyone on the the loss, including the weather and shop’s team can discuss with a condriving conditions, as well as taking sumer or insurer. Montanez also photographs and obtaining signed stressed the importance of shops unpaperwork. Additionally, technicians derstanding all the features oﬀered must take paint ﬁlm mil thickness by their system. readings, perform pre-repair scans Prior to disassembly, take photos with Ed Attanasio and take pre-repair measurements. of the vehicle before removing com“Make sure your technicians ponents to view hidden sustained know how to properly measure,” damage. Next, check for secondary Montanez noted. “Four to eight mea- or indirect sustained damage. surements on a vehicle is unacceptThe goal is “to complete your
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damage report on the ﬁrst day, as accurately as possible. Your initial damage report should basically match the ﬁnal bill, other than outsourced processes which you should still be able to appro imate. oing a complete, accurate initial estimate allows you to avoid multiple supplements,” Montanez said, also suggesting damaged components be stored in a speciﬁc area where they are ready to show to the insurer as needed. uring the ad ustment process, collision repair professionals will review the damage report to double check all operations and parts prices before reviewing the report with the team to make any adjustments. Save and print needed documents. Then, ﬁnali e the report with the team. “Make sure the damage assessor, foreman, parts manager, technician and everyone who touches the car is aware of what’s going on with
it. R eview all operations and the repair plan to be sure they understand, and after you map the vehicle, it’s ready for the insurance inspection and parts arrival,” Montanez said, stressing, “Never start a repair order without receiving all the pertinent parts.” eferencing a odge R am which req uired a bedside panel replacement, Montanez compared photos of an original panel and a new panel, provided courtesy of Log an P ay ne from P ay ne & S ons in allas, T . He identiﬁed several not-included processes that must be performed, such as cleaning the work area of dirt and debris, removing adhesives and foams and repairing adjacent panels. Montanez went through the estimate line by line, oﬀering eﬃciency tips on various processes while idenSee Getting Paid, Page 50
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48 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
4/20/2021 6:07:47 PM
Cox Automotive March Forecast: U.S. Auto Sales Pick Up Pace Heading into Spring March U .S. auto sales, when reported the last week of March, will show strong growth over February’s pace and a signiﬁcant increase over last year’s pandemic hit numbers. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR ) of sales this month is forecast by Cox Automotive to hit . million, up from February’s
were reported. The sales recovery has been choppy since September. The SAAR has bounced around between the upper- to mid- million levels over the past six months. A return to the higher end is expected in March. The sales pace should improve this month after being hampered by winter storms that disrupted much
“Supply chain disruptions that continue to plague the industry are adding to the short supply situation. — Charlie Chesbrough . million pace and well above last March’s dismal 11.4 million level. Sales volume is forecast to increase nearly over last March and reach 1.48 million units. hile sales in the ﬁrst uarter have been healthy, they remain below pre-pandemic levels. Total sales in Q 1 2021, forecast at 3.77 million units, will be up . versus but down . from Q 1 2019 , when 3.9 7 million sales
of the country in February. With the deep freeze impacting markets as far south as Houston and disrupting millions of lives and businesses for days, many sales were likely delayed into early March. Also, the distribution of stimulus checks is well underway, and we’ve already noticed upward movement in our daily sales tracking numbers as a result. “Inventory levels are tight right now, though, and this could hinder
the market in coming months,” said Charlie Chesbroug h, senior economist, Cox Automotive. “Supply chain disruptions that continue to plague the industry are adding to the short supply situation. Although lean inventories have not had much impact on buyers in the ﬁrst uarter, that will likely change as we move into Q 2. The production disruptions happening now will turn into even lower inventory in the months ahead.” March Sales F orecast H ig hlig hts • In March, new light-vehicle sales are forecast to increase by 49 0,000 units, or nearly , compared to March 2020. When compared to last month, sales are expected to rise nearly , units, or . . • The SAAR in March 2021 is estimated to be . million, above last year’s 11.4 million level and an increase from last month’s . million pace. There are 26 selling days this month, one more than last year and two more than February, so additional time will also help lift sales. • Year-over-year comparisons will
become less relevant in the months ahead as large year-over-year increases are reported. Compared to March 2019 , sales volume this month is forecast to be down by more than . March had one additional selling day than March 2021. • First-q uarter sales are forecast to be up . compared to but down . versus . Cox A utom otive Q 1 2021 U . S. A uto Sales W ebcast The Cox Automotive Industry Insights team will host a webcast at a.m. T March . uring the event, the team will discuss key economic indicators driving the auto market, review the 2021 forecasts and oﬀer analysis of new- and used-vehicle sales for March and the ﬁrst uarter. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A session. R SV P to attend. Source: Cox Automotive
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ith more than ﬁve weeks to go before the SE MA Show space agreement deadline, show management reports more than 1,000 exhibitors have already been conﬁrmed for the 2021 event. The news is signiﬁcant, and underscores the work L as V egas and its businesses are doing to welcome back large-venue events like the SE MA Show. The L as V egas Convention Center’s newly constructed West Hall, a 1.4-million sq uare foot facility, was completed in J anuary, and will house exhibitors from the R estyling & Car Care Accessories, Powersports & U tility V ehicles and Truck, S ﬀ- oad sections. As the city continues to ramp back up to host events, the buzz among exhibitors anticipating the return of the in-person SE MA Show for 2021 has increased signiﬁcantly. “ eople are eager to get back to the SE MA Show and reestablish their in-person connections with colleagues and customers,” said V ice President of E vents Tom Gattuso. “The groundswell of excitement among
exhibitors increases each day, and the show is the ‘ main event’ that the industry is looking forward to in 2021.” The 2021 SE MA Show is a little more than seven months away, and show management continues to work closely with the convention center authorities and the state of Nevada to help deliver the best SE MA Show ever. SEMA Show D ates to R em em ber The E xhibitor Services Manual (E SM) will be live in May. The E SM contains all of the forms and applications req uired to prepare for the show: feature vehicles, new products, booth vehicles, celebrity appearances, etc. eadline to submit E xhibit Space R ental Application and deposit is May 7. SE MA Show Space Selection: J une 7-23. R eserve booth space for the 2021 SE MA Show at www.SE MAshow. com/exhibitor. For complete information about the 2021 SE MA Show, visit www. SE MAShow.com. Source: SE MA
autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 49
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asTech Acquires Red EU & Red Autocentres R epairify, Inc. d/b/a asTech, a portfolio company of K inderhook Industries, L L C, announced March 24 the acq uisition of R ed (E U ) L imited and R ed Autocentres. R ed (E U ) L imited is a leading distributor of aftermarket electronic devices designed to run diagnostic tests and calibration services on automotive electrical systems, spe-
R ed provides a complete suite of solutions for the service, maintenance and repair, collision and automotive insurance industries through diagnostic scan tools and automotive electrical system services. Services include local, car-side and remote diagnostics along with sensor calibration, programming and vehicle health support.
“Red is an exciting acquisition that enables asTech to further broaden its suite of global tools and solutions for customers.” — Paul Cifelli ciﬁcally advanced driver assistance systems S . ed utocentres is a leading provider of automotive diagnostics, calibration and programming services for the collision and mechanical markets. The combined companies will operate as R ed E U , and represent the 11th add-on acq uisition for asTech and inderhook’s th automotive-related transaction. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“R ed is an exciting acq uisition that enables asTech to further broaden its suite of global tools and solutions for customers. With demand for S repair and calibration services rising, asTech looks forward to continuing to be the solution provider of choice for customers seeking to properly repair today’s sophisticated car parc,” said P aul Cif elli, managing director of K inderhook Industries. “R epairify is thrilled to wel-
Continued from Page 42
Continued from Page 48
Value of Return
nect.com, a new consumer portal being launched in conjunction with ASA, which allows shops to purchase workers’ compensation insurance online. “This is going to be great innovation we’re bring to associations that will save shops time and money,” he said. “You’re buying directly from us. Simple, fast and direct is the goal here.” O n April 21, ASA’s next Webinar ednesday, the ﬁrst of a two-part series, will feature R ick Escalam bre of Independent Contract Technical Training, as he talks about “Identifying iﬃcult-to- un Monitors sing In-U se Performance Tracking.” For more information or to register, visit asashop.org/asa-webinars.
tifying processes shops freq uently neglect to include on their damage reports. “J ust the bed panel, no blends, just changing the bed panel alone, is a , ob at labor rate, for materials and ta . ut what about the same damage to a 2019 R AM? ” Montanez asked. E xamining another preliminary estimate, Montanez revealed the same repair on a 2019 model is around $ 400 cheaper. He also explored what happens to the 2007 estimate if the panels are blended; the repair cost increases to $ 10,9 12. The estimating class concluded with a q uestion and answer session. Collision Hub will be hosting its 2021 World Fair and E xposition at the end of April. For more information about MSCR A, visit https://mymscra.com/ or facebook.com/mscra1/.
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come Martin B row n from R ed, who will be joining the R epairify team as technical director, R epairify Innovations,” said Cris H olling sw orth, president of R epairify. “E xpanding into new markets and augmenting service oﬀerings to better serve all customers is key to asTech’s global growth strategy. We look forward to integrating R ed, a leading market expert in the U nited K ingdom, which will enable us to further execute on that strategy across the U K , E urope and internationally.” “The merger between R ed and R epairify will provide tremendous value and beneﬁts to all of our ed global customers,” said Brown, CE O of R ed E U . “R ed customers will beneﬁt from having access to a complete portfolio of world class tools, products and services rapidly being integrated under the R epairify global solutions platform.” Mishcon de R eya L L P and K irkland & E llis L L P served as legal counsel to asTech. Source: asTech
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Axalta to Host Virtual Capital Markets Day Axalta invites investors, analysts and other stakeholders to a virtual apital Markets ay, a.m. to p.m. T May . CE O R obert B ry ant and members of the Axalta leadership team will present the company’s growth strategy, the business and ﬁnancial outlook and detail plans to drive long-term shareholder value. Presentations will be followed by a Q & A session where participants can post q uestions and engage with Axalta’s leadership team. Presentation materials will be posted to Axalta’s website at www.axalta.com/investors on May prior to the event. A recording of the webcast will be made available following the event. Participants are req uested to pre-register their attendance and can do so here: https://www. bigmarker.com/tv_ /Axalta-Capital-Markets- ay For q uestions or more information, contact Axalta Investor R elations at Christopher.mecray @ axalta.com. Source: Axalta
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autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 51
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New Vehicle Inventory Continued to Dwindle in March: Edmunds Consumers in the market for a new vehicle will likely have a harder time ﬁnding what they want at an aﬀordable price right now due to severe supply shortages aﬀecting the automotive industry. According to the car shopping experts at E dmunds, new vehicle inventory on sale at dealerships nationwide was down by in March compared to a year ago, and prices are rising for both new and used vehicles as a result. E dmunds analysts forecast the average transaction price (ATP) for new vehicles will climb to , in March compared to $ 38,6 01 a year ago; the ATP for used vehicles is expected to hit $ 22,6 6 3 compared to $ 20,273 last year. “The chipset shortage has snowballed into a bigger crisis for the automotive industry,” said J essica Caldw ell, E dmunds’ executive director of insights. “Major auto manufacturing plants are implementing temporary closures, and we’re seeing the industry being hit hard on both sides: R etail customers are being oﬀered fewer choices and paying higher prices, while ﬂeet customers
are likely seeing their orders delayed as auto manufacturers shift their focus to serving consumers.” E dmunds analysts note full-size trucks and large SU V s are among the vehicle categories most disproportionately aﬀected by these shortages. According to E dmunds data, full-size truck inventory was down by in March compared to a year ago; the average transaction price for new full-size trucks is expected to climb to , compared to , a year ago, while the average transaction price for used full-size trucks is e pected to climb to , compared to , a year ago. L arge SU V inventory decreased in March compared to last year the average transaction price for new large SU V s is forecasted to climb to , compared to , in March 2020, and the average transaction price for used large SU V s is e pected to climb to , compared to $ 31,232 a year ago. “Full-size trucks and large SU V s have been a bright spot for automakers throughout the pandemic because of their proﬁtability, but unsurprisingly these high-demand vehicles have
also been the uickest to ﬂy oﬀ the lot,” said Caldwell. “U nfortunately, these supply shortages translate to a bigger ﬁnancial hit for automakers, and the etroit Three are likely the most aﬀected. In spite of these shortages, E dmunds analysts note a uent consumers have continued to drive a signiﬁcant portion of ﬁnanced purchases throughout the ﬁrst uarter of the year, as indicated by increases in average down payments and the average amount ﬁnanced for both new and used vehicle purchases. According to E dmunds data, the average down payment for new and used ﬁnanced vehicle purchases is expected to climb to $ 4,729 and , , respectively, in compared to $ 4,246 and $ 2,6 79 a year ago. The average amount ﬁnanced for new and used vehicles is expected to climb to , and , , respectively, in Q 1 compared to , and , a year ago. “So far, automakers have been able to comfortably count on ﬁnancially stable consumers focusing their spending on bigger-ticket vehicle purchases during the pandem-
Ford Recalls 2.9 Million Vehicles to Replace Takata Airbags by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com
Another Ford Takata airbag recall has been announced, this time for about 2.9 million vehicles with airbags eq uipped with calcium sulfate desiccant. About 2.6 million of these vehicles are recalled in the U .S., nearly , are recalled in Canada and another 46 ,000 Ford vehicles are recalled in Mexico. 2006 -2012 Ford Fusion 2007-2010 Ford E dge 2007-2011 Ford R anger 2006 -2011 Mercury Milan 2006 -2012 L incoln Zephyr 2006 -2012 L incoln MK Z 2007-2010 L incoln MK X The driver-side front airbag inﬂators may degrade over time and explode if they are exposed to high humidity and moisture over time. But Ford says it isn’t aware of any calcium sulfate desiccant airbag inﬂators that have ruptured. Ford ﬁled a petition with the government in 2017 arguing
extensive testing shows a recall isn’t necessary because the airbag inﬂators have a desiccant to absorb moisture. However, the National Highway Traﬃc Safety Administration denied Ford’s petition, a decision Ford says it respects. Ford dealerships will replace the driver’s side airbag inﬂators or airbag modules when the recall begins the week of April 1. Ford can be reached at 86 6 436 -7332 and owners may use Takata airbag recall reference number 21S12. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.
Source: E dmunds
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ic,” said Caldwell. “But as vaccines continue to roll out and consumers crave new experiences and products to spend their money on, automakers and dealers will need to prepare to get more creative in marketing the limited inventory that they have on hand.” E dmunds experts advise consumers in the market for a new car to start shopping sooner rather than later, as they anticipate the chipset shortage is likely to aﬀect pricing and inventory through at least the second half of 2021. “Americans looking forward to their newfound freedom this summer in the form of a road-trip vehicle should be doing their research now,” said Ivan rury, dmunds’ senior manager of insights. “The summer sales that consumers can typically look forward to might not look the same this year, and even with stimulus checks on the way, the only relief that price-sensitive car shoppers might ﬁnd might be in lower interest rates and the increased value of their trade-in.”
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52 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
4/20/2021 6:07:50 PM
Farmers Insurance Finds More Than Half of Drivers Admit to Using Cell Phones While Behind the Wheel The vast majority of drivers understand the danger cell phones present on our roadways, but survey data from Farmers Insurance reveals a signiﬁcant gap between this belief and drivers’ actual behavior. According to the survey, 87% of drivers surveyed believe that people who use their phone behind the wheel pose a danger to others. Yet, 53% of those drivers admit to making a call behind the wheel and 45 percent admit to sending, reading or receiving a text message. Gen Z and Millennial drivers surveyed also admitted to participating in video chats (32% collectively), posting to or viewing social media (28%), playing a game (27%) and streaming video (24%) while behind the wheel, suggesting younger drivers could face continued driving distractions as technology continues to evolve. “It’s understandable that today’s drivers feel a conﬂict―people know that phones, and the distraction they introduce, pose a risk and can interfere with safe driving; however, phones can be tempting and pull our attention and focus,”
said Carolyn Wald, head of product innovation integration for Farmers. “With April being National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we want to remind people that there are a few precautions and tools we can all use to help keep our attention focused where it belongs, and to help keep the roads safer for everyone.”
Farmers oﬀers its safe-driving app, Signal, to help drivers recognize behaviors that may be taking their attention oﬀ the road and earn a discount for focused driving. The insurer also recently launched CrashAssist within the Signal app, a feature that can detect crashes and help connect drivers to emergency and support services. Signal users can receive push notiﬁcations should a crash be detected then be connected with emergency services, and get help reporting a claim. After 2020 saw an 8% spike in
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traﬃc fatalities according to the National Safety Council, this month’s observance of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month hits even closer to home as all drivers share a responsibility to practice focused driving when behind the wheel. Wald recommends the following tips to help people stay safe when they hit the road: Make your car a “no phone zone”: It may seem like a no-brainer but limiting mobile phone use is one of the easiest ways to become a more focused driver. And don’t forget, hands-free calling and voice texting can still be a distraction while you’re on the road. If you ﬁnd it helpful, use an app to silence phone calls and texts when you’re behind the wheel. Multitask later: The last place you should be multitasking is behind the wheel of a car. Avoid eating, glancing at your calendar, searching for dropped items or anything else that can take your attention away from the road. Chat light: Take a cue from the 33% of those surveyed who believe that talking to passengers, includ-
ing those in the back seat, poses a danger to others on the road. Save serious conversations and important news with passengers for when you’re oﬀ the road. Instead, keep the chatter light so you can focus on the road ahead. Buckle up children and pets: Make sure children and pets are properly secured in their seats before starting the ignition. In many cases, the safest place for your children and four-legged passengers is in the back seat of the car. Park it: Always pull over and park in a safe place before adjusting controls in your car, tending to a pet or child, sending a text or talking on your phone. Get an app for that: Consider downloading an app that rewards you for focused driving behaviors, like Signal from Farmers. Households who enroll in Signal will automatically have access to CrashAssist. A Signal discount is also available in some states. For more information, visit: https:// www.farmers.com/signal/. Source: Farmers Insurance
GM Airbag Investigation Launched After Injuries by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com
A GM airbag investigation has been opened following claims of injuries caused when the airbags failed to deploy in crashes. The National Highway Traﬃc Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it opened the General Motors airbag investigation after receiving 15 complaints alleging six severe crashes where the airbags failed to deploy. According to NHTSA, the six GM vehicles suﬀered “signiﬁcant frontal collision damage,” and all six incidents caused injuries. Additionally, nine airbag complaints indicate the airbag warning lights were illuminated. Included in the GM airbag investigation are nearly 750,000 of these vehicles: 2020-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2020-2021 Chevrolet Tahoe 2020-2021 Chevrolet Suburban 2020-2021 GMC Sierra 2020-2021 GMC Yukon 2020-2021 GMC Yukon XL 2020-2021 Cadillac Escalade 2020-2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV
2020-2021 Cadillac CT4 2020-2021 Cadillac CT5 2020-2021 Cadillac XT4 GM issued technical service bulletin (TSB) 21-NA-005 in March regarding illuminated airbag warning lights associated with diagnostic trouble codes B0001-1B or B0012-0D. The GM airbag investigation will have federal safety regulators looking at what the automaker said in the TSB which was sent to dealerships. Speciﬁcally, GM told dealers rust particles in the connection terminal interface of the airbag inﬂator is what causes illuminated airbag warning light. It’s when the airbag warning light activates the airbag deactivates and won’t deploy in a crash. NHTSA said investigators will determine how severe and widespread the GM airbag problems are, and if the automaker should recall and repair the vehicles. CarComplaints.com will update our website with results of the GM airbag investigation. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.
autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 53
4/21/2021 12:55:06 PM
Kia Recalls 2021 Telluride, K5, Forte to Protect Kids
Erie Insurance National Survey: Americans Eager to Take Road Trips in 2021 While the pandemic cancelled vacation plans in 2020, cooped-up travelers are planning more road trips this year, according to a new national survey from E rie Insurance conducted to support istracted riving wareness Month in April. More than half of respondents plan to take at least one road trip this year. nother say they would like to but it depends on the status of the pandemic. O f those planning to pack up their car, truck or SU V , more than half plan to travel more than miles from home. “We commissioned this survey to better understand how the pandemic has impacted road travel, and what distractions are impacting driver safety,” said J on B loom , vice president of personal auto, E rie Insurance. “Based on data collected, there will likely be more people traveling by car who may be distracted by a number of factors, both inside and outside their vehicle. We want this to serve as a reminder for drivers to be safe and aware on the roads at all times.” What’s driving this year’s trav-
by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com
Model year 2021 K ia Telluride, and Forte vehicles may have problems with the occupant classiﬁcation systems used to detect when children are in the front passenger seats. This could cause the front airbags to deploy when they shouldn’t, namely when children are in the seats. The airbag may cause injuries even if the crash doesn’t. The 142 recalled vehicles need their classiﬁcation and detection systems replaced, but owners may call - . K ia’s number for this recall is SC207. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.
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el trends? The urge to see family and friends is real. When asked where they plan on going during their road trip, the ma ority will visit loved ones, while many others are beach-bound or seeking outdoor adventure at a national park . Most e pect to travel with just one other person, typically their spouse or partner. Write-in destinations included many outdoor, socially spaced locations―likely a reaction from the pandemic―including campsites, lakeside resorts, lodges and cabins to partake in ﬁshing, golﬁng, hiking and overall sightseeing activities. More than any other age group, the crowd e pects to travel long distances this year―one-third plan to travel more than 1,000 miles. As the ﬁrst age group to be fully vaccinated, they may feel safer to travel and are eager to ﬁnally hug their adult children and grandchildren again. Nearly half the respondents said they are distracted by other passengers in their vehicle
when driving. f those, say children distract them the most, followed by a spouse or signiﬁcant other. The greatest distraction for drivers in the three older age groups - , - and was their spouses or signiﬁcant others complaining about their driving skills. In the three younger age groups - , and - , their greatest distraction was noisy children. The older the age group, the less distracted drivers are by things inside their vehicle. rivers , for example, are distracted seven times more by what they see outside than they are by cell phones. Men and women responded similarly to all distractions except trying to eat and drink and using their phone’s GPS. Nearly twice as many men are most distracted by trying to eat or drink compared to women , while twice as many women are distracted by their G S nearly compared to men nearly . Source: E rie Insurance
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