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Biden Touts America’s Electric Automotive Future During Ford Tour, Test Drives Electric F-150 by Nick Niedzwiadek
President Joe Biden traveled to Michigan on Tuesday May 18th to drum up support for his plans to reorient the American economy toward a greener future, and to lavish
praise on Ford Motor Co. as it shows off an electric version of its signature pickup truck slated for next year. “We’re at a great inflection point in American history,” Biden said in Dearborn after touring Ford’s electric vehicle production facility. “How we handle the next four to 10 years is going to determine where we are going to be 30, 40, 50 years from now. It’s one of those moments in American history.” Biden’s visit was timed to Ford’s official rollout of its Lightning truck later this week, and the president was See Ford Tour, Page 24
Overall Rate of Uninsured Drivers Nationally Remains Flat by John Yoswick
Efforts to crack down on uninsured motorists in the U.S. appear to be having little effect, according to the most recent findings from the Insurance Research Council (IRC). In a report updated every three or four years, the IRC in April estimated one in eight drivers on the road in 2019―12.6%―lacked insurance. That’s down from 13% in 2015, but up from 12.3% in 2010. The figure potentially impacts collision repairers in that insured vehicles are more likely to be repaired
after an accident, and because atfault drivers who lack insurance increase insurance costs for those with policies. But state law regulates insurance, including enforcement of insurance requirements for drivers, and the rate of uninsured drivers varies widely by state, according to IRC data. Just 3.1% of New Jersey drivers lacked insurance in 2019―down significantly from 14.9% in 2015― but at the other end of the spectrum, nearly three in 10 drivers (29.4%) in See Uninsured Drivers, Page 19
AUTOBODYNEWS.COM Vol. 39 / Issue 6 / June 2021
Two Responses to COVID for Collision Repairers— Resilience and Realization by David Roberts, Focus Advisors
In dozens of discussions with shop owners over the past four months, there is a marked divergence among MSOs about their plans for the future. Many who are experiencing a strong rebound in revenues have strong balance sheets and managed their expenses throughout the pandemic, and now have embarked on more aggressive expansion. Others are reconsidering their alternatives post-COVID, as their recovery proceeds more unevenly and more slow-
ly than anticipated. The former are carefully identifying expansion opportunities. One client is in the process of buying a dealer body shop. Another client has committed to building a large greenfield location in a rapidly expanding portion of his market. Among those who are reconsidering their future are some who have been planning their exit opportunities for a long time but have been reluctant to pull the trigger. Others are exhausted: “I just don’t have it in me to roll this rock up the mountain one See Two Responses to COVID, Page 14
Historic Recovery Ahead for U.S. Economy in 2021, Predicts UCF Economist by Josh Miranda, UCF Today
Fueled by a release of pent-up economic demand, unemployment will decline and Americans will spend more money through 2021, says Sean Snaith, renowned economist and director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Forecasting. While consumer spending shrank by 3.9% in 2020 amid the recession, the institute’s first-quarter U.S. forecast predicts spending will accelerate to an increase of 5.4% this year and slow to an increase of 2.6% by 2024. CARES Act funding and the COVID-19 vaccine are quelling fear of the pandemic, prompting consumers to open their wallets and businesses to hire new employees. Snaith maintains a positive outlook on the months ahead, but it could take until 2022 for unemployment to fall back to pre-pandemic levels. “Job growth will help ease the damage to the labor market from the lockdown, but the road to recovery will take at least another year,”
Snaith says. “Consumers are powering this recovery, and as the effects of the pandemic fade, consumer confidence will rise in tow.” In the report, Snaith predicts: Job growth will continue. The growth rate will reach 3.9% in 2021, before slowing to 3.1% in 2022, 0.8% in 2023 and 0.5% in 2024. Unemployment will decline to 4.2% by 2023. The housing market will continue to progress and improve through 2021—new-home construction will rise from 1.38 million in 2020 to 1.56 million in 2021, then decelerate to 1.24 million by 2024. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will accelerate from its historic 2020 low to 5.4% in 2021, before easing to 4% in 2022, 2.5% in 2023 and 2.4% in 2024. With economic policy measures largely at a standstill in Washington, D.C., public health initiatives will likely drive the speed of the nation’s economic recovery. The looming See Historic Recovery, Page 18
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2 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
CONTENTS California Businesses Reopening, Tourism Trying to Rebound from $12 Billion Loss���������6 CAWA Holding Summer Leadership Meetings in June�����������������������������������������������������������6 EV Connect to Help Expand California Charging Infrastructure Under $436M EV Program�������23 Farmers Insurance, Veterans Community Project, NABC Donate Vehicle to Veteran��������������������16 G & C Auto Body, Allstate, State Farm, NABC Donate Refurbished Vehicles to Two Deserving CA Recipients�������������������������������18 Gerber Collision & Glass Acquires Three Repair Centers in Hawaii�������������������������������27 Hawaiian Tourists Renting U-Hauls Due to Car Rental Shortage����������������������������������10 HGreg.com Ramps Up West Coast Expansion with Acquisition of 2 L.A. Nissan Storefronts�16 Irvine, CA, Man Allegedly Fraudulently Got $5M in COVID Relief Loans���������������������������10 Nevada’s Revenue Expected to Rebound in Second Half of 2021�������������������������������������20 Next-Gen Tesla Roadster Heads to Petersen Auto Museum for 2-Week Exhibit������������������22 Reviver, Future Automotive Group Announce Agreement to Sell Digital License Plates�������12 Seaside, CA, Police Department Replaces Ford Crown Vics with Teslas��������������������������20
Collision Repair Veteran Brings I-CAR Training to Collision Industry in China�������������������������42 Everything’s Changed: The Pandemic’s Impact Will Be Felt Long After We Stop Wearing Masks�����������������������������������������������4
Anderson - Collision Repair Industry Has a New Voice on OEM Safety Inspections�����������30 Phillips - Best Practices for an Effective Health and Safety Program���������������������������36 Yoswick - CIC Speakers Discuss Employment Issues Related to Vaccines, Fire-Related Concerns with Evs����������������������������������������34
AkzoNobel Launches Training Platform�������������18 ASE Offers Free Training�����������������������������������47 asTech Introduces Live-Chat�����������������������������19 Auto Care Association Applauds FTC Report on Anti-Competitive Repair Restrictions��������24 Axalta Launches Mobility Coatings��������������������21 Biden Touts America’s Electric Automotive Future During Ford Tour, Test Drives Electric F-150����1 Biden’s Emissions Pledge Comes with Economic Consequences, Experts Warn��������52 Chip Shortage Forces U.S. Automakers to Shift Focus to High-Profit Vehicles�����������������50 Collision Repair Industry Veteran and Author Gary Ledoux Writes into the Sunset���������������48
on Bumper Fascias���������������������������������������51 Ford Reports 1Q Net Income of $3.3B, Best in a Decade�������������������������������������������26 Fossil Fuel Emergency: U.S. Races to Move Gasoline After a Pipeline Hack�����������������������50 FTC Examines Anti-Competitive Repair Restrictions, Recommends Ways to Expand Consumers’ Options�������������������������52 Historic Recovery Ahead for U.S. Economy in 2021, Predicts UCF Economist��������������������1 How to Get Your Customers to Trust You in a Skeptical World��������������������������������������32 LexisNexis U.S. Auto Insurance Trends Report Shows COVID-19’s Impact on the Industry����35 Mitchell 1 Expands ADAS Coverage���������������������6 Mobile 3D Hail Damage System Here����������������51 Most, Least Expensive Cars to Insure Named����27 NHTSA to Investigate Fatal Tesla Crash Involving Overturned Truck����������������������������12 Now is the Perfect Time to Sell or Trade Your Car: Kelley Blue Book����������������������������55 Ogden Auto Color Joins Wesco Group����������������22 Remains Flat��������������������������������������������������1
Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk, Stacey Phillips Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Norman Morano, Johnny Barrett (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����������������� 20
Industrial Finishes and Systems������������������ 7, 56
Insta Finish����������������������������������������������������� 13
Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������������� 35
Kearny Mesa Subaru-Hyundai������������������������� 21
AutoNation Collision Parts��������������������������������� 5
Kia Downtown Los Angeles����������������������������� 18
AutoNation Honda Costa Mesa������������������������ 34
Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers�����������40-41
AutoNation Infiniti Tustin��������������������������������� 43
Kia of Carson�������������������������������������������������� 26
Kia of Irvine���������������������������������������������������� 23
BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers������������������������ 47
Larry H. Miller Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram������� 22
Car Pros Kia���������������������������������������������������� 14
Maita Chevrolet���������������������������������������������� 16
Car Pros Kia Renton���������������������������������������� 36
Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers���������������������� 55
Certified Automotive Parts Association������������ 10
Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers�������� 55
Michael Hohl Motor Company������������������������� 38
Colortone Automotive Paints��������������������������� 24
MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������������� 46
Courtesy Chevrolet San Diego������������������������� 27
MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers��������������������� 33
DCH Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat�������������� 12
Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers������������ 49
Fairview Ford-Lincoln-Mercury����������������������� 32
Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������� 53
FH Dailey Chevrolet����������������������������������������� 42
Pro Spot International��������������������������������������� 2
Fix Auto USA��������������������������������������������������� 17
Reno Buick-GMC�������������������������������������������� 22
Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������������� 45
Sandberg Volvo Cars��������������������������������������� 38
Future Nissan of Roseville������������������������������� 30
SATA Dan-Am Company���������������������������������� 15
Galpin Motors������������������������������������������������� 37
Sierra Chevrolet-Honda-Subaru���������������������� 19
Garden Grove Kia�������������������������������������������� 23
Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers���������������������� 39
Glenn E. Thomas Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep����������� 11
The Bay Area Automotive Group���������������������� 25
GM Wholesale Parts Dealers��������������������������� 31
Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������� 44
Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers�������28-29
Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers������������������������ 42
Registration Open for CIECA CONNEX 2021�������12 SEMA Show Registration Open�������������������������16 Sherwin-Williams’ Lee Rush Provides Insight on Quality Validation Needs���������������������������46
Autobody News P.O. Box 1516 Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 (760) 603-3229 Fax www.autobodynews.com email@example.com
Subaru Announces Electric SUV������������������������22 Tesla and Its Peers Proving EVs Inherently Safer than Combustion Cars�������������������������39 Tesla Says All Supercharger Energy Will Be
Ford Releases New Position Statement
Overall Rate of Uninsured Drivers Nationally COLUMNISTS
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
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Renewable in 2021���������������������������������������53 Toyota Acquires Lyft’s Self-Driving Unit for More Than Half a Billion Dollars��������������������54 Two Responses to COVID for Collision Repairers—Resilience and Realization������������1 UAW Suggests EV Tax Credit Should Only Apply to U.S.-Built Cars���������������������������������44 Vehicle Trade-In Values Climb to All-Time Record High in March: Edmunds�������������������44 Volkswagen Group Reports Strong Results in Q1 2021���������������������������������������������������53 VW Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over ‘Voltswagen’�������������������������������������������������31 Why Tesla Hasn’t Been Affected by the Global Chip Shortage������������������������������������55
Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������� 51
autobodynews.com / JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 3
Everything’s Changed: The Pandemic’s Impact Will Be Felt Long After We Stop Wearing Masks by Paul A. Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau
Visit any North American auto assembly plant and you’ll quickly notice how much things have changed since factories reopened after a two-month shutdown during spring 2020. There are the ever-present masks, of course, and the way things have been reorganized, in break rooms as well as on the line, to minimize the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. It’s likely a matter of time until workers can remove their masks. But many of the other changes are likely to be permanent. Indeed, from manufacturing to marketing and retailing, there have been a number of changes brought by the pandemic that are likely to be long term and, perhaps, permanent. And they will impact automotive buyers as well as manufacturers. “The pandemic has just changed the game,” said David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research. “Just about every automaker,” he said, will be changing business practices “to hedge against unexpected situations, whether an earthquake or a pandemic.” The pandemic has played out in plenty of unexpected ways. That includes the ongoing shortage of semiconductors forcing almost every manufacturer to slow―and in some cases temporarily halt―production. With millions of Americans in lockdown and even more working from home, chip vendors face unprecedented demand from manufacturers of web cameras, videogame consoles and cellphones, leaving automakers high and dry. Experts warn the situation could continue through the end of this year. It’s highlighted the vulnerabilities of an automotive manufacturing system that has, during the past 30 years, evolved into a just-in-time process mandating minimum inventories. In many cases, factories receive parts just minutes before they’re needed on the line. When it all works it can hold down costs and give automakers more control over production schedules―while also improving quality. When it fails, well, automakers can be forced to shut plants down.
Floods, blizzards, even earthquakes can briefly disrupt the JIT system. Typically the impact of those events is has been brief, the semiconductor shortage reveals the logistics behind lean inventory systems also can come crashing down for an extended period. At a recent event hosted by Automotive News, Ford CEO Jim Farley admitted he has just begun to recognize the challenges of maintaining thin factory inventories, adding, “Most other industries use safety stock for critical components like chips.”
On average, U.S. dealers have between a 60- to 75-day supply of every model they sell on their lots. That approach is costly and creates a variety of problems. A large dealership can spend tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in inventory holding costs. Manufacturers must guess what vehicles consumers will buy months ahead, and if they’re wrong they usually wind up paying for their mistakes in the form of hefty incentives. That became especially apparent during the run up to the Great
Weld curtains hang across the door line at FCA’s Sterling Heights (Michigan) Assembly Plant to protect employees from the spread and transmission of COVID-19
While the just-in-time system isn’t likely to be abandoned, analyst Cole and others expect the industry to make some big changes. There’ll likely be more padding to prevent unexpected disruptions. And automakers may have to set up “safety stock” of critical goods, such microchips, more like the way they handled things in the pre-JIT era. Ironically, we’re likely to see big cuts in inventory at the other end of the automotive chain. Since the industry’s earliest days, manufacturers have pushed dealers to maintain a large stock of vehicles. The argument is American car buyers want instant gratification. Unlike motorists in Europe and other parts of the world who are willing to wait for their vehicle to be delivered from the factory, Americans expect to go shopping and then drive home in their new model the same day.
4 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
Recession, some products carrying givebacks of more than $10,000. Such profit-eating incentives played a major role in driving General Motors and then Chrysler LLC into bankruptcy in 2009. “I’ve been saying for years that overproduction” to keep showrooms overstocked “has been ruinous for the industry,” Mike Jackson, the CEO of AutoNation, America’s largest auto retail chain, told TheDetroit Bureau.com. If anything, the pandemic has led to a massive reduction in dealer stocks, J.D. Power reporting U.S. retailers had about 1 million fewer vehicles in stock during the first quarter than they normally would. The pandemic factory shutdowns created the shortage, but the ongoing microchip shortage means manufacturers can’t refill pipelines as quick as they’d hoped. And, it turns out, that’s a good thing.
AutoNation and most of its retail competitors posted their biggest profits ever during the first quarter of this year. Clearly, the fact U.S. buyers are hungrier than ever for new vehicles has helped. And what dealers and manufacturers have both discovered is that “buyers were willing to wait,” according to Jackson, sometimes as long as six weeks to take delivery of the vehicles they sought. It has helped that the industry has been tinkering with the retail process. Most automakers have developed sophisticated new online shopping tools. The key has been to let buyers control the purchase process, whether they went to do everything in the showroom or shop entirely online, said Jackson and other dealers. AutoNation, in particular, has made it possible for customers to not only track inventory on dealer lots but also vehicles in transit from factory to showroom. So, while automakers are rushing to rebuild the inventories of especially popular models, like the Toyota RAV4 and Ford F-150, customers shouldn’t expect to find acres of unsold vehicles at most showrooms going forward. “We’ll never go back to levels of inventory we had pre-pandemic because we’ve learned we can be much more efficient,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said during a May 5 earnings call. If the first quarter is any indication, this approach will prove to be a lot more profitable for manufacturers and retailers alike. But consumers should expect to not only be in for a wait when they’re ready to buy but also to pay a bit more. Lower inventories mean lower factory incentives and less lucrative discounts from dealers desperate to clear out inventory, said Cole. On the positive side, leaning out the marketing and distribution system could cut overall costs, money that manufacturers could pass on the consumers in the form of lower sticker prices. We thank The Detroit Bureau for reprint permission.
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Mitchell 1 Expands ADAS Coverage Mitchell 1 announced May 11 it now offers the Driver Assist ADAS QuickLink feature across its suite of repair information software, expanding coverage to most makes and models of cars, light trucks and commercial trucks. The unique QuickLink dashboard view is available in both ProDemand automotive repair information and TruckSeries commercial truck repair information. The feature is exclusive to Mitchell 1 and delivers immediate access to a table presenting a consolidated overview of ADAS-related components, including whether the components of an ADAS feature will require calibration or special tools like targets or a scan tool to complete the job. Unlike cars and light trucks, with Class 4-8 commercial trucks the manufacturer of the ADAS component for a particular vehicle is not always known. TruckSeries provides that detail with the component name when needed or when it is known. Source: Mitchell 1
California Businesses Reopening, Tourism Trying to Rebound from $12 Billion Loss by Bethany Blankley, The Center Square
California officials in San Francisco said May 4 the state was open for business. On May 6, Los Angeles County officials announced bars will be allowed to reopen indoors at limited capacity. Gyms and museums will be allowed to welcome more patrons. “You can safely go out in public again,” Eleni Kounalakis, California’s lieutenant governor, said in a virtual news conference speaking from San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Organized by the nonprofit organization Visit California, the news conference featured officials who encouraged Californians to vacation in-state, even if just for weekend getaways. “In the travel and tourism industry, there was no ‘working from home,’ and so we are starting 2021 with a significant deficit for this industry,” Kounalakis said. “The good news is we are opening back up.” Californians are encouraged to get out and travel after the state’s tourism industry suffered $12 billion
worth of losses after Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down the state. “Just from June of 2020 through February of 2021, California lost nearly $12 billion in visitor spending from Californians leaving the state to vacation in other destinations. Mexico in particular, a billion dollars went to Mexico,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California.
Downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Shutterstock
The San Francisco Airport “lost more passengers than any airport in the U.S. due to the pandemic and is the slowest to recover,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president of the San Francisco Visitors and Conventions Bureau. Beteta estimates it will take the state’s tourism industry roughly four
years to recover and rebound after one year of lockdowns. The U.S. Navy also announced May 4 it was ending some COVID-19 restrictions for tens of thousands of San Diego-based sailors. For the first time since last year, they will be allowed to go to public beaches, eat at restaurants and go to bars. Restrictions for some on-base facilities will also be relaxed, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. More than 19,200 California businesses permanently closed last year as a result of the state’s shutdown, according to a Yelp report. The industries most impacted were restaurant, retail and shopping, bars and nightclubs, beauty, fitness and arts and entertainment. Los Angeles businesses reportedly suffered the worst by sheer volume, initially reporting 7,500 permanent and 7,500 temporary closures, followed by San Francisco, San Diego and Riverside, according to last year’s Yelp analysis. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.
CAWA Holding Summer Leadership Meetings in June CAWA is holding its Summer Leadership Meetings in June at the Hilton Mission Valley in San Diego, CA. The meetings will take place June 24 and 25. Committee sessions, business meetings, networking events and guest speakers on contemporary automotive issues will make presentations. There will also be a YANG Regional Meet-Up in conjunction with the leadership meetings and, keeping with CAWA’s continued support of YANG, all their members can register for the complete event free of charge. The June 24 reception and dinner will be held at the San Diego Zoo for attendees to enjoy. Presentations at the general session June 25 will include: “The Road Ahead: Automotive Aftermarket Risks and Opportunities,” presented by Bill Long, president and CEO, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) “Navigating Opportunities in the New Aftermarket Normal,” pre-
sented by Todd Campau, associate director, aftermarket solutions, IHS Markit “ How to Get My Business,” a panel discussion moderated by Michael Rukov of RepWorks Marketing with Ashlee Arnold of Arnold Oil Company, Dan Hanson Jr. of Hanson Distributing Company, Mike Mohler of The Automotive Parts Services Group and Shao Dyi of City Auto Supply For more information on the event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. CAWA is an automotive aftermarket trade association, which represents auto parts jobbers, retailers, warehouse distributors, manufacturers, manufacturer representatives and program groups. CAWA provides educational, legislative and business support to the industry and its membership. It is one of the largest trade associations of its kind in the U.S. and recognized as a leader in the automotive aftermarket industry. Source: CAWA
6 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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Irvine, CA, Man Allegedly Fraudulently Got $5M in COVID Relief Loans An Orange County, CA, man was arrested May 7 on federal charges alleging he fraudulently obtained approximately $5 million in Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans for his sham businesses, then used the money on himself, including purchasing Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini sports cars. Mustafa Qadiri, 38, of Irvine, CA, was named in a federal grand jury indictment returned May 5 charging him with four counts of bank fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and six counts of money laundering. Qadiri surrendered to law enforcement May 7 and was expected to make his initial appearance that afternoon in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. According to the indictment, Qadiri claimed to have operated four Newport Beach-based companies, none of which are currently in operation: All American Lending, Inc., All American Capital Holdings, Inc., RadMediaLab, Inc., and Ad Blot, Inc. In May and June 2020, Qadiri allegedly submitted false and fraud-
ulent PPP loan applications to three banks on behalf of those companies. The false information allegedly included the number of employees to whom the companies paid wages, altered bank account records with inflated balances and fictitious quarterly federal tax return forms. Qadiri allegedly also used someone else’s name, Social Security number and signature to fraudulently apply for one of the loans. Relying on this false information, the banks funded the PPP loan applications and transferred approximately $5 million to accounts Qadiri controlled, according to the indictment. Qadiri allegedly used the fraudulently obtained PPP loan proceeds for his own personal benefit, including for expenses prohibited under the requirements of the PPP program, such as the purchase of luxury vehicles, lavish vacations and the payment of his personal expenses. Federal agents have seized the Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini cars that Qadiri allegedly purchased with the fraudulently obtained PPP loans, along with $2 million in al-
leged ill-gotten gains from his bank account. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act is the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. In April, Congress authorized more than $300 billion in additional PPP funding. The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1%. Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within a set time period and use at least a certain percentage of the loan towards payroll expenses. An indictment contains alle-
gations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Homeland Security Investigations, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this matter as part of the El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer L. Waier of the Santa Ana Branch Office is prosecuting this case. Source: U.S. State’s Attorney’s Office District of Central California
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Hawaiian Tourists Renting U-Hauls Due to Car Rental Shortage by Auto Rental News Staff
Because of a rental car shortage in Hawaii, tourists are starting to rent vehicles from U-Haul, according to a report by Fox Business.
Unlike this 15-foot U-Haul moving truck, tourists to Hawaii are renting pickup trucks and cargo vans to get around. Credit: Flickr, HireAHelper
U-Haul’s local marketing office, which oversees U-Haul transactions at more than 30 locations throughout the Hawaiian Islands, has seen a parallel between foreign addresses and driver’s licenses for tourists who are renting from U-Haul in higher numbers, according to the
company. “We have seen a considerable uptick in U-Haul rentals from customers who are visiting the islands now,” Kaleo Alau, president of U-Haul Company of Hawaii, told Fox Business. Alau said that most of the rentals are for U-Haul’s smaller vehicles, including its pickup trucks and cargo vans. The reservations for these rentals are stretching from a few days to a week, according to the report. Normally, U-Haul’s cargo vans and pickup trucks are used for “small jobs” and rented from one hour to 24-hour rental periods. Currently, in-town U-Haul rentals start out with a flat rate of $19.95 plus a per-mile charge and a fee for accident protection. Many of Hawaii’s U-Haul stores and dealers have been left “with less available equipment than usual,” said Alau. He advised local movers to call in advance to reserve U-Haul equipment, according to the report. We thank Auto Rental News for reprint permission.
10 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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Registration Open for CIECA CONNEX 2021 CIECA announced early bird registration is now open for its annual conference, CONNEX 2021. The in-person event is being held Sept. 14-16 in Charlotte, NC. In addition to a line-up of top industry speakers, there will be networking opportunities, a vehicle gifting by the National Auto Body Council (NABC) as part of its Recycled Rides program and a tour of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. All industry stakeholders, including CIECA members and non-members, are invited to attend to hear about current and future industry challenges and opportunities; gain timely, relevant business and technical knowledge; and take part in learning opportunities for all industry segments. For more information about CIECA CONNEX, including sponsorship and speaking opportunities, visit https://cieca. zohobackstage.com/CONNEX2021#/?lang=en Discounted room rates at the Hilton Charlotte University Place are available now. Source: CIECA
Reviver, Future Automotive Group Announce Agreement to Sell Digital License Plates ReviverMX, Inc., developer of the world’s first digital license plate (DLP), announced it has entered into an agreement with the Future Automotive Group to sell Reviver Rplates through Future Nissan dealerships located in Folsom and Roseville, CA. The Future-Reviver agreement provides both companies with a path to direct sales of Reviver’s Rplate and a shared revenue stream. Rplates will be offered with new Nissan vehicles and through Future Nissan’s service lanes. The Rplates provide Future Nissan with a distinct differentiation. In addition to enhancing a vehicle’s technology profile, the Rplates have a very unique look that add a brilliant aesthetic touch. From a technology standpoint, the Rplate allows owners to conduct contactless DMV transactions while reducing or eliminating paper-based transactions during registration renewal. The registration renewal process is executed over the air through Reviver’s proprietary smart-phone app. The Rplate simply updates itself―eliminating the need for tradi-
tional stickers. Additionally, Rplate owners can also display DMV-approved banner messages and modify the appearance of their Rplates by changing background colors through the app. “We are very happy to be able to offer our customers Reviver’s Rplates,” said Kevin Mantz, general manager for Future Nissan. “The Rplate is emblematic of the technology trends in automobiles. Roughly 40% of the cost of vehicles today is dedicated to technology. The license plate is the only remaining element of a vehicle that heretofore remained untouched by technology’s advance. “Rplates look great, and their compliment to Nissan’s onboard technology offerings is brilliant.” Reviver and the Future Automotive Group will work together to ensure the success of their alliance. “Rplates bring immense value to vehicle sales by helping to ignite conversations about vehicles on showroom floors displaying them,” said Neville Boston, Reviver founder and CSO. “In Future Nissan’s case, the plates display the Future Nissan
Steven Michael Hendrickson was 35 and the proud single dad of two kids. He loved his Tesla Model 3 and posted at least two TikTok videos praising FSD and how it made driving more relaxing. At 2:30 a.m. May 5, his Tesla crashed into an overturned truck on State Highway 210 in California. The crash injured the truck driver and a person who was helping the driver, and killed Hendrickson. NHTSA decided to investigate the incident. The decision followed another relevant investigation performed by both NHTSA and NTSB on a Texas crash that killed the two occupants in the Model S. Nobody was found in the driver’s seat, which raised concerns the car could have been operating on Autopilot, Tesla’s Level 2 driver assistant system. Later reports confirmed both the driver and passenger seats were occupied. Some people insist on calling it full autonomous driving, which is way beyond the beta software capability: there’s no autonomous car on
the market right now. The crash that killed Hendrickson has elements that suggest Autopilot might have been active. When the truck overturned, it closed two lanes of I-210 and was probably visible for any attentive driver. If Autopilot was active, it could have failed to detect the overturned truck and hit it. It would not be the first time that happened. In the crash that killed Joshua Brown on May 7, 2016, in Williston, FL, NHTSA determined “the ADAS system did not respond to an impending crash event.” Considering how late it was, it is not unlikely that Hendrickson fell asleep at the wheel of his Model 3. With this new inquiry, Tesla is now involved with 25 SCIs (Special Crash Investigations), of which 18 have to do with Autopilot. Both the Texas crash and this latest one in California still need official confirmation that the system was active. According to Reuters, Tesla did not answer its requests for comments. We thank Inside EVs for reprint permission.
The Rplate and Rplate Pro can be reviewed at www.reviver.com. Source: Reviver
NHTSA to Investigate Fatal Tesla Crash Involving Overturned Truck by Gustavo Henrique Ruffo, Inside EVs
logo. When a potential customer sees the Rplate for the first time the discussion frequently begins about the Rplate, bringing incremental value to the purchasing process. “Customers are compelled by how good it looks,” Boston added. “Once they see it change from the dealer’s display to another image, they’re amazed. It’s a real game changer.” Reviver’s Rplate and the more advanced Rplate Pro are currently being sold for vehicles registered in California and Arizona. Eleven other states are actively engaged in adopting Reviver plates. The company is currently selling Rplates through multiple channels, including automotive dealerships and affinity groups such as Susan G. Komen and the Arizona State University alumni association. Reviver’s Rplate Pro with its suite of telematic features is positioned to serve small to medium-sized commercial fleets.
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Two Responses to COVID more time. COVID really took it out of me.” Slow recovery seems to be a common thread: “I’m finally ramping up, but at this rate it will take me over a year to get back to where I was.” COVID may be the straw that broke the camel’s back for some. Between pressures from insurance companies (including being dropped by State Farm or USAA), additional investments for certifications and new equipment, and the retirement of senior technicians, several operators have decided that it’s time to let somebody else take over the business. For some of our clients, the hard decision to sell has already been made. Now they’re spending their time preparing their companies for a positive exit with a more defined future for their technicians and managers. One operator who is still sitting on the fence is concerned an acquirer may not treat his employees as well as he does. Another is worried because his children have no interest in the business, the family name on the door will be lost forever. Another is uncertain about whether he will ever regain his pre-COVID profitability even though his revenues are coming back strongly. For operators who are reengaging positively with their businesses, many have taken the opportunity during the pandemic to revamp their operations, restructure their teams, improve their training and upgrade their facilities. One of our clients improved his margins by two points during COVID. His comment was, “I finally got around to doing things I’d wanted to do for 15 years.” Conclusions Coming Out of COVID Undoubtedly, savvy operators are recognizing that staying in the industry will require more capital, more scale and better leadership. Some have very frankly recognized their own limitations and decided to add senior management with capabilities greater than their own. One of the questions we get is, “How should I compensate a senior leader with better management skills than
me?” Our response is to never be afraid to pay somebody really well if they are contributing more value to the business than you can do by yourself. A smart operator who intends to create equity value in the business to be harvested in the future can’t do it alone. So be prepared to pay a generous salary and benefits as well as some equity or stock appreciation rights to that new leader. Another area where operators are finding increasing need is in finance. For those growing beyond the $20 million mark in revenue with six or more shops, really competent and experienced financial assistance is a necessity. One option is to outsource contractors. Part-time CFOs are an alternative. A really well qualified controller or CFO can relieve the owners of many administrative and financial burdens in a rapidly growing organization. Questions Both expanding operators and those who are considering exiting the business are asking many of the same questions. What about valuations? How much will my COVID numbers hurt me? Will I be judged valued on my 2019 numbers or my 2020 numbers? In general, all acquirers look primarily at the trailing 12 months revenues and EBITDA. However, our firm has been successful in helping acquirers understand that full year 2019 and first quarter 2021 are fairly indicative of the capability and health of the business. In looking ahead to 2021, business performance in 2019 is a fairly reliable indication of where the business will likely return or exceed. However, as 2019 falls farther back in the rearview mirror, we think valuations will be more based on 2021 results and their progression. How do acquirers look at EBITDA during the PPP loan period? PPP loans can be challenging for acquirers to analyze. Their impact on the business is admittedly hard to tease out. Highlighting excess labor that was retained during COVID in accordance with the PPP loans has been a successful way for our clients to engage with acquirers. However, we have also been
14 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
successful treating PPP (and EIDL) loans as grants, and thus income, which tend to more than offset the extra costs imposed by their forgiveness criteria. Is it a good idea to grow right now? Yes. We think there are opportunities in just about every market to find and acquire other operators who are struggling or who just want to exit. By acquiring another operator, you get immediate cash flow and (hopefully) EBITDA, a trained staff and an operating business. Fixing an underperforming business isn’t simple but if the core staff and relationships are there, it’s a more immediate return than starting from scratch. A brown or greenfield startup is lots of fun and challenging with infrastructure costs, hiring staff, obtaining licenses and establishing new DRP relationships, but EBITDA is slow in developing. For those operators who are acquiring, we’ve also seen creative methods for financing the purchase, including seller financing and SBA loans that wrap both the business and the real estate into one loan.
What have we seen among acquirers during the COVID period? Almost every large acquirer paused briefly to reassess their own acquisition criteria and to stabilize their operations. Caliber, which has slowed its pace of acquisitions over the last year and a half, temporarily suspended rent payments to a number of its landlords. It also paused or eliminated some internal and external initiatives. However, Caliber restored both back rent and current payments to landlords in the midst of the pandemic and has not wavered since. Several of the more seasoned super-regional acquirers, such as Crash Champions and Classic Collision, hardly slowed at all. And new entrants, Quality Collision and CollisionRight, launched in the midst of the pandemic. CARSTAR and FIXAUTO USA continued to add new franchisees although at a slower pace than pre-COVID. Smaller operators such as Mitchco, now up to four locations in Florida, G&C with 19 locations in Northern California, and several See Two Responses to COVID, Page 21
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SEMA Show Registration Open
HGreg.com Ramps Up West Coast Expansion with Acquisition of 2 L.A. Nissan Storefronts
Registration for the 2021 SEMA Show, scheduled for Nov. 2-5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, is now open at www.semashow.com/ register. The 2021 SEMA Show already has more than 1,500 companies confirmed to exhibit and many more expected. Exhibitors include major automakers and small businesses, as well as iconic aftermarket manufacturers who are enhancing their booths to heighten their presence at what will be the first industry-wide in-person gathering for the $46.2 billion specialty automotive industry in nearly two years. Registration is offered in three categories—attendee, exhibitor and media—and everyone must qualify to receive a badge and attend. For more information about qualifying documents and the 2021 SEMA Show, log on to www.semashow.com.
HGreg.com, one of the fastest growing automotive groups in North America, has acquired Buena Park Nissan and Puente Hills Nissan, two established car retailers located in the Greater Los Angeles area. The acquisition enables HGreg. com to continue its growth plans for the West Coast, expand its inven-
plans.” The total value of the investment, including a robust inventory and renovations to upgrade to the next-generation storefront design, is estimated at a value of more than $100 million. Effective immediately, the locations will also offer the in-person and online services that
“Adding transparency throughout the car-buying journey, especially online, helps our customers truly enjoy their experience,” — John Hairabedian tory of quality, pre-owned vehicles and, ultimately, help customers save more, drive happier and enjoy the omnichannel car buying journey it has committed to streamline. “The response we’ve received since opening our first storefront and fulfillment center in L.A. last December has been astounding,” said John Hairabedian, president and CEO of HGreg.com. “It certainly contributed to driving us forward, and faster, in our expansion
HGreg.com has become known for including same-day delivery, contactless car-buying options, fiveday money-back policy, payment by cryptocurrency and access to a deep and varied assortment of quality, carefully-inspected pre-owned vehicles. “Adding transparency throughout the car-buying journey, especially online, helps our customers truly enjoy their experience,” said Hairabedian. “It also gives them the confidence
Farmers Insurance, Veterans Community Project, NABC Donate Vehicle to Veteran Farmers Insurance donated a newly refurbished vehicle to a U.S. Air Force veteran April 15 in Boulder, CO. Farmers worked with Gerber Collision & Glass to restore a 2016 Chevy Trax as part of the National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides program. “The Farmers team is dedicated to giving back and helping make a positive impact in our communities,” said Carly Kraft, external communications manager at Farmers Insurance. “In providing reliable transportation, it’s our hope the newly restored vehicles will help meet the recipient’s needs.” The cars were restored by technicians at Gerber Collision & Glass who donated their time and skills. The NABC Recycled Rides program brings together collision repairers, insurers and others in the collision industry in an effort to make a difference and give refurbished vehicles to individuals and service organizations that would benefit from reliable transporta-
tion. The NABC Recycled Rides program began in 2007 and since then has donated more than 2,600 vehicles valued at more than $36 million. The recipients were identified by Veterans Community Project (VCP), a nonprofit organization founded by a group of combat veterans in Kansas City, MO, with a mission to eliminate veteran homelessness. The organization helps provide critical support services, including a Veteran Outreach Center and VCP Village, a specialized community of tiny homes specifically designed for homeless veterans. The recipient, JP, is looking forward to the opportunities the vehicle can provide him. The Air Force veteran will now have a vehicle that will help open additional career opportunities not available via public transportation. JP plans on paying it forward by driving fellow veterans to their VA appointments. Source: NABC, Farmers Insurance
16 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
and reassurance that they can do this again―just as easily―whenever they’re looking to upgrade their vehicle or adjust their lifestyle.” Located at 6501 Auto Center Drive in Buena Park and 17320 Gale Ave. in City of Industry, the new locations will be known as HGreg Nissan Buena Park and HGreg Nissan Puente Hills. Each contains a showroom, office space, services building, multi-story parking and an inventory of more than 500 quality new and pre-owned vehicles. From a base of 150 employees between both locations, HGreg. com is embarking on a recruitment effort to fill up to 30 additional positions. HGreg.com encourages anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for technology, cars and service to apply at HGreg.com/ careers. The company stands apart from many in the industry by insisting that sales representatives do not receive a commission based on the value of a vehicle. Source: HGreg.com
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AkzoNobel Launches Training Platform
G & C Auto Body, Allstate, State Farm, NABC Donate Refurbished Vehicles to Two Deserving CA Recipients
AkzoNobel on May 4 announced the launch of its new Acoat Selected digital training platform containing business services content relevant to end-user customers. This training content was previously only available to Sikkens customers through faceto-face instruction by a services consultant at the customer location. The digital platform is now also available to AkzoNobel’s Lesonal customers. The digital training platform contains seven content categories, most relevant to collision repair shop owners/managers and production managers, including process improvement, human resources, marketing, technical, sales, finance and more. The training fulfills I-CAR continuing education credit requirements and is free of charge for AkzoNobel’s Sikkens and Lesonal customers. Access it at www.AkzoNobelTraining.com. Source: AkzoNobel
Recently, Alexis Short and Missy Erick, two deserving Northern California residents, experienced life-changing events―the presentation of refurbished vehicles to provide them independence and the ability to work and take care of their families―thanks to G & C Auto Body of Santa Rosa and G & C Auto Body Sebastopol and car donors Allstate and State Farm, along with the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides program. The presentations were held recently at G &C Auto Body locations in Santa Rosa, CA. The deserving recipients were selected by the Crozat Family Foundation. Short was presented a 2015 Honda Accord LX donated by Allstate, and Erick was gifted a 2012 Ford Taurus donated by State Farm. Short, who has four children, is finding her independence after dealing with domestic violence from her former partner. She works as a caregiver for two families in the private sector, and has to commute long distances for her job. Her previous vehicle blew an engine, so she
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Historic Recovery possibility of future lockdowns, vaccine distribution concerns and the nation’s understanding of the COVID-19 virus will have the greatest effect on the strength of the rebound. Interest rates are similarly projected to remain near zero until mid2024, when the Federal Reserve will slowly begin reversing the rate cuts made during the COVID-19 recession. The Fed’s delay to increase interest rates will help fuel investment growth once the pandemic subsides. “This is all uncharted territory for monetary policy,” Snaith says. “Washington D.C. has been focused on politics more so than the economy and there is no previous playbook on
how best to carry policy forward.” For the complete U.S. report from the Institute for Economic Forecasting, visit business.ucf.edu/ centers-institutes/institute-economic-forecasting. The Institute for Economic Forecasting strives to provide complete, accurate and timely national, state and regional forecasts and economic analyses. Snaith is a national expert in economics, forecasting, market sizing and economic analysis who authors quarterly reports about the state of the economy. Bloomberg News has named Snaith as one of the country’s most accurate forecasters for his predictions about the Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rate, the Federal Funds rate. We thank UCF Today for reprint permission.
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18 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
now takes the bus, train and taxi for work, appointments and family errands. The gift of reliable transportation allows her to maintain a sense of independence for herself and her children. It also will help her look for a new job closer to home. “Thank you so much Allstate Insurance for donating this lovely 2015 Honda Accord,” said Short. “Thank you to G&C Auto Body Santa Rosa for making it look new again! A special thank you to G&C Auto Body for sponsoring six months of full coverage insurance, and six months of grocery and gas help to assist me in adjusting to the cost of owning a vehicle.” Erick is a single mom to three, with two living at home. Her vehicle was repossessed in mid-February, and she is currently getting rides to her job as a housepainter with her boss or co-worker. She is also looking for new housing. Having reliable transportation would allow her the independence to get to work and take care of her family, and also assist in her search for safe housing.
“Thank you so much State Farm Insurance for donating this beautiful 2012 Ford Taurus, and thank you G&C Auto Body, Sebastopol location, for refurbishing the vehicle,” said Erick. “A special shout out to G&C Auto Body for also donating six months of full coverage insurance through State Farm and for sponsoring six months of grocery and gas.” NABC Recycled Rides is a unique program in which businesses representing all facets of the collision repair industry team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need of reliable transportation. Since the inception of the NABC Recycled Rides program in 2007, members of the NABC have donated more than 2,600 vehicles valued at more than $36 million. Additional partners in the NABC Recycled Rides presentation included 1-800 Charity Cars. Source: NABC
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Uninsured Drivers Mississippi were driving uninsured. That was up from 23.7% in 2015, which doesn’t bode well, given the
2017, but saw the percentage of uninsured drivers there rise from 20% in 2015 to 23.7% in 2019. More than one in four drivers in Alabama in 2007 lacked insurance, but tougher state regulations brought that down to 18.4% in 2015. State
The Insurance Research Council issued a report this year showing the rate of uninsured drivers ranges from a low of 3.1% of drivers in New Jersey to a high of 29.4% in Mississippi
state implemented an insurance verification system for traffic stops in 2017 and further toughened penalties for driving uninsured in 2018. Tennessee similarly launched an insurance verification system in
regulators earlier this year said they expected that had dropped still further, to 10% or less by 2019. But the IRC report pegs the number as actually having risen to 19.5% that year. North Dakota also saw a big
spike in uninsured motorists, from 6.8% in 2015 to 13% in 2019. Idaho last summer implemented increased efforts to crack down on uninsured drivers, which comprised about 8.2% of the state’s drivers in 2015, but jumped to 13.2% by 2019. Arkansas also began cracking down on uninsured drivers last year. A new law that went into effect in January 2020 requires a state agency to notify residents whose registered vehicles appear to lack insurance that they have been fined $100 for the lapse. If they don’t provide proof of insurance within 30 days, their vehicle registration can be suspended. By the end of last August, the state had mailed 179,126 such letters to Arkansas drivers. The state hopes to reduce its rate of uninsured drivers, which stood at 19.3% in 2019, according to the IRC. Two large states did see significant declines from 2015 to 2019 in uninsured driving. Florida fell from having 26.7% of drivers uninsured in 2015―the highest in the nation― to 20.4% in 2019, and Texas cut its rate nearly in half, from 14.1% in 2015 to just 8.3% in 2019.
asTech Introduces Live-Chat asTech is now offering a new live-chat feature, making it easier for customers to communicate with technicians. The chat feature is available on the company’s mobile app, native app and via asTech.com. The live-chat will allow customers to chat back and forth to discuss fixes on the vehicle, see when an asTech technician has joined the conversation, chat in multiple languages with its translator service and save chat log to review another time. Learn more about the live-chat feature at http://astech.com/astech-chat/. Source: asTech
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Nevada’s Revenue Expected to Rebound in Second Half of 2021 by Robert Davis, The Center Square
A panel of fiscal experts in Nevada issued their forecast for the state’s biennial budget on May 4. Nevada’s Economic Forum said May they anticipate state revenue to be $582.6 million more than what the body projected in December, as the state’s vaccination rate increases and reduced restrictions on businesses allow the economy to recover. Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement the projection is proof that “Nevada’s economy is on a track toward recovery.” “Our fiscal situation has improved due to the actions we’ve taken over the last 14 months in the State―working to strike a balance between protecting public health and also protecting our fragile economy,” he added. In the short-term, however, Nevada lawmakers should expect to see fewer general fund dollars when they write the state budget. The main reason for the change is that the tourism and hospitality industries have not found their foot-
ing yet, the panel said. “The pandemic will weigh on hospitality and especially accommodations for years, but conditions are improving,” the report said.
The Economic Forum compiled the report by comparing Nevada’s general sales and use taxes together with its annual tax revenue from gaming activities. Each member of the panel works in the private sector. Three of the members are appointed by the governor while the other two are appointed by the leaders of the Assembly and Senate. Economic Forum members
are required to submit two reports annually―one in December and the other in May. Lawmakers are statutorily required to use the May report while writing the state’s budget. According to the 2021 report, Nevada’s gross domestic product (GDP) between the first and second quarters of 2020 was down 42.2%. This tied the Silver State with Hawaii for the highest rate of decline relative to annualized GDP in the country, the panel found. Job losses were primarily driven by restrictions on the tourism, hospitality and gaming industries, the report found. This caused Nevada’s unemployment rate to hit 30% in April 2020. The state’s unemployment rate during the Great Depression was 14%. As a result, sales and use tax revenue saw a year-over-year drop of 1.65% in 2020. Similarly, tax revenue from gaming licenses and percentage fees dropped by over 17%.
However, the report said there’s a “light at the end of the tunnel” for Nevada’s economy. The panel anticipates both of these categories to experience significant growth in the fourth quarter. Sales and use taxes are forecasted to increase by 21.86% as retail and hospitality businesses return to full force. Revenue from gaming is forecasted to increase by 263.27% by the end of next year. Meanwhile, the state has been adding jobs back at a similar pace to neighboring states and the broader U.S. economy. The state added 4,700 jobs in March, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. “This acceleration will carry forward to the rest of Nevada’s economy in the coming months. As herd immunity is achieved, reduced epidemiological risks, pent-up demand and excess savings will fuel consumer spending nationwide,” the report concluded. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.
Seaside, CA, Police Department Replaces Ford Crown Vics with Teslas by Andrei Nedelea, Inside EVs
Are electric vehicle suitable for law enforcement duty? Some police departments think so and they are replacing their aging gas-burning sedans with clean battery-electric vehicles in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. One such example is in Seaside, CA, where the local police department has ditched two of its old Ford Crown Victoria cruisers for a pair of brand new Tesla Model Ys. During a Seaside City Council meeting in February, it was noted vehicles in the police department’s fleet only drove an average of just 26 miles per day, which means even much lower-range EVs would have still been fine for the job. “There aren’t very many departments that are deploying electric vehicles and we wanted to be at the forefront of the movement to be more environmentally conscious,” said Seaside Chief of Police Adbul Pridgen. They will be spending a total
of $354,000 on the two Teslas, as well as three unnamed hybrid Ford models. The pair of Model Ys probably accounts for a little more than $100,000 of that sum, which comes from the department’s supplemental law enforcement and asset forfeiture monies. But buying Teslas for police duty isn’t always as easy as in Seaside. In Spokane, WA, the local city council didn’t want to buy Teslas when the time came to replace some of its older cop cars, but they eventually did, after insisting hybrids would be better suited for the role. Another example comes from Ipswich, MA, where one Model Y was purchased with up to $15,000 off the list price thanks to local incentives and green vehicle grants. We thank Inside EVs for reprint permission.
20 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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Two Responses to COVID others took advantage of local opportunities to continue growing their footprint. In short, the additional competition for quality MSOs has kept buying interest and valuations high despite the pandemic. People ask us what we are paying most attention to in the industry 1. OE requirements and certifications. OEMs are increasingly recognizing that access to technologically complex parts and certifications gives them more ways to improve their OE parts sales and margins. A $4,500 headlight with a patented sensor included is a not-so-subtle way to insure parts profitability. 2. Consolidation―discussed above. We expect the acceleration of consolidation to continue. 3. Diversification. Caliber is now emphasizing its diversification into glass, service and ADAS work. LKQ
has added ADAS services to its offerings and is buying up smaller ADAS firms. LKQ now claims with the acquisition of the Elitek subsidiary, it’s the largest U.S. provider. Many regional operators are creating their own ADAS companies as well. 4. Changes in DRP networks. Painful reductions in the State Farm and USAA DRPs, GEICO shifts and Progressive expansions have really impacted both large and smaller MSOs. Replacing State Farm volumes with smaller DRPs cannot make up the difference. 5. Changes in insurance market share. When one considers the remarkable changes among auto insurers over the last 10 years, the most surprising and far-reaching impact is how the direct marketers―GEICO and Progressive―have grown their total market share. These two companies have grown from 16% to 27% of all premiums written in the U.S. in a decade. The top 10 insurers have grown to almost 75% of all vehicles insured. More and more clout is moving to fewer and fewer insurers.
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What we expect to see for the rest of the year Miles driven: We think travel by car will come roaring back. People are so anxious to move around the country. They still can’t travel to Canada or Mexico very easily so expect summer travel in the U.S. to be up above 2019 levels. Many more transactions: With two active national consolidators, five super-regional MSOs and at least six private equity firms still looking for platforms, we expect to see many more transactions in 2021 and 2022. Much of the volume will be driven by the expansion plans of these acquirers. Some will be driven by potential tax rate increases both at the national and the state level. Many will be driven by retirements of operators. And sadly, many will be driven by the exits of struggling businesses. We thank Focus Advisors for reprint permission.
Axalta Launches Mobility Coatings Axalta, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, on April 22 announced the launch of Axalta Mobility Coatings, a rebranding of its Transportation Coatings business unit. The redefined business will focus on supporting the accelerating demand for e-mobility and the evolving coatings needs of established and emerging light and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), fleet owners and shared mobility providers. As part of the rebranding, Axalta Mobility Coatings is unveiling a new solutions portfolio that brings together the best of Axalta’s experience and innovation into three categories: Core Mobility Solutions, Advanced Mobility Solutions and Axalta Advantage. For more information about Axalta Mobility Coatings, visit www.axalta.com.
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Next-Gen Tesla Roadster Heads to Petersen Auto Museum for 2-Week Exhibit by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
For two weeks, the next-generation Tesla Roadster, a vehicle considered the halo car of production EVs, will be available for viewing at the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles, CA.
The vehicle will be displayed with its predecessor, the original Tesla Roadster, from May 19 to June 2. The Petersen Auto Museum is offering a special “after hours experience” for those interested in
viewing Tesla’s next halo car without the hassle of dealing with the day’s usual crowds. The after hours exhibition access runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. PST, and comes with several perks, such as complimentary parking, a special edition lanyard and access to the museum’s second-floor exhibits. Tickets to the “after hours experience” cost $45 each, while general admission tickets cost $16 for adults, $11 for children and $14 for seniors. It should be noted that the Roadster’s “after hours” access for May 19 is sold out as of writing. While the new Tesla Roadster prototype was initially unveiled in 2017, the general public has had a pretty limited number of opportunities to view the vehicle closely. This makes the upcoming exhibit quite exciting, particularly as Tesla is expected to have implemented a number of improvements to the
next-generation Roadster since its unveiling. The new Tesla Roadster is expected to be one of the most capable supercars in the world when released, with its 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds, quarter-mile time of 8.8 seconds and top speed of more than 250 mph. The vehicle was also announced with a 620-mile range, thanks to its large 200 kWh battery pack. These specs are true for the vehicle’s base model too, as per CEO Elon Musk. Tesla’s upcoming cars are no stranger to the Petersen Auto Museum. Last year, it was the Roadster’s less sleek stablemate, the Cybertruck, featured in the noted auto museum. The Cybertruck attracted a lot of visitors during its stay, despite the crowds still being largely controlled and limited due to the pandemic. Those interested in viewing the Roadster, May 19 to June 2, can purchase their tickets at https:// www.petersen.org/tesla. We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.
Subaru Announces Electric SUV Subaru of America, Inc. on May 11 announced it will name its new full-electric SUV Solterra. Designed as a joint venture between Subaru and Toyota, the Solterra features a new, dedicated all-electric platform, the e-SUBARU Global Platform. The joint venture combines Subaru’s expertise in all-wheel drive technology with Toyota’s vehicle electrification technology. To create the all-new e-SUBARU Global Platform, Subaru engineers worked to bring together the brand’s allwheel drive capability, superior driving dynamics and world leading passive safety in a versatile, dedicated EV platform. The result is a technologically advanced full-electric SUV that is also a truly capable and durable Subaru SUV. Visit https://www.subaru. com/solterra-ev to learn more. Source: Subaru
Ogden Auto Color Joins Wesco Group Wesco Group, a leading paint, body and equipment distributor in the Western U.S. and Canada, is pleased to announce Ogden Auto Color has joined the Wesco family of companies.
Ogden Auto Color is based in Ogden, UT, with three locations serving Utah in Ogden, Salt Lake City and Orem. Ogden Auto Color was founded in 1929 in Ogden and has been selling refinish paint since the 1950s. Bret Thorpe, an owner of Ogden Auto Color, will stay on and join the management team at Wesco.
“Wesco is a family driven company as is Ogden Auto Color. We are excited to now be part of bigger family and are looking forward to our future together,” said Thorpe. “We are excited to welcome Auto Color customers and employees to the Wesco organization,” said Lloyd White, CEO of Wesco Group. “This will expand our footprint in Utah, and we look forward to carrying on the long tradition of serving Auto Color customers and working together on our many growth initiatives.” The combined Wesco Group of companies now sells and services from more than 73 stores, 13 distribution centers and 11 equipment divisions in the Western U.S. and Canada. This makes Wesco Group one of the largest privately held PBE distributors in North America.
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EV Connect to Help Expand California Charging Infrastructure Under $436M EV Program Building on its success in the $22M Southern California Edison (SCE) Charge Ready pilot program, EV Connect, a software-as-a-service company leading electric vehicle charging ecosystem deployments and management, announced it is once again an Approved Network Provider in the $436M Charge Ready program from SCE.
As an approved network provider for Charge Ready, EV Connect will participate in one of the country’s most advanced utility-driven EV charging infrastructure initiatives, and is one of the few companies participating in the Demand Response (DR) initiatives established by the program.
As the nation’s largest light-duty electric vehicle charging program, Charge Ready is designed to deploy 38,000 EV chargers over the next four years to help California achieve its EV and climate goals. The program will focus on bringing charging infrastructure to public parking lots, schools, hospitals and destination centers. Half of the chargers will target state-designated disadvantaged communities or economically impacted communities that suffer most from the effects of air pollution. Among the vendors selected to provide chargers in the program are EV Connect’s Premier Hardware Partners: ABB, BTCPower, EVBox, EVoCharge and Certified Partners: Blink, Delta, EFACEC, Enel X, EVSE LLC, Freewire, Siemens, Tellus Power and Tritium. “We look forward to building on the customer success stories from the original Charge Ready pilot program. EV Connect is proud to support like-minded local businesses that are building a sustainable future within the SCE territo-
ry,” said Jordan Ramer, CEO and founder of EV Connect. “It’s time to electrify transportation, and we are thrilled to be able to do that right in our backyard.” In addition to the SCE Charge Ready program, EV Connect is an approved network provider for the $356 million SCE Charge Ready Transport program, as well as the SCE Schools & Parks Program, for which EV Connect will provide a bundled charging solution that includes station hardware, software and operations and maintenance services for EV charging at school sites across the SCE service territory. Started in 2016, the Charge Ready pilot program added more than 1,000 EV chargers at more than 100 sites in the SoCal Edison service area. Of those chargers, EV Connect secured more than 300 connectors―across 226 charging stations―and included customers such as the Marriott Palm Desert Spring Villas and Panda Restaurant Group. Thanks to its hardware-neutral approach, the EV Connect
platform works seamlessly with all charger types and manufacturers leveraging open standards. EV Connect continues to make it simple to roll out unique, tiered pricing structures for employees, visitors and corporate fleet drivers, as well as enabling grid management tools for utilities and grid operators, while the EV Connect mobile app empowers drivers to charge up at work and beyond the corporate campus. EV Connect is ready for tens of thousands more connectors, site owners, sites and drivers. Source: EV Connect
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Ford Tour eager to put his gearhead persona on full display. “My name is Joe Biden, and I’m a car guy,” he exclaimed at the start of his remarks. During his speech Biden joked about taking the electric truck for a spin without his security detail, and
The idea of an all-electric pickup is a bit of a gamble given trucks’ decadeslong popularity among consumers and the degree to which they’re embedded in American culture, particularly in conservative-leaning enclaves. But automakers in recent years have been stepping up their investment in electric vehicles as the technology improves and they begin to move out of niche status in the public perception.
“How we handle the next four to 10 years is going to determine where we are going to be 30, 40, 50 years from now. It’s one of those moments in American history.” — President Joe Biden also reminisced about his fondness for the Ford Fairlane, a model that was discontinued during the Nixon administration. Afterward, Biden zipped around in one of the electric trucks wrapped in a pattern carmakers use to thwart corporate snoops. “This sucker’s quick,” Biden, behind the wheel, said to reporters stationed nearby.
“The future of the auto industry is electric — there’s no turning back,” Biden said. “The real question is whether we will lead or we’ll fall behind in the race for the future.” Biden’s road show was overshadowed somewhat by the continued hostilities between Israel and Palestinians, a conflict that has billowed for weeks before escalating in
recent days. At least 200 Palestinians have been killed during the clash, including dozens of children and many other civilians. Hamas and other militants in Gaza have directed thousands of rockets at Israel, though the Israeli death count is substantially lower because of its advanced missile defense system. The president has tried to deescalate the situation while juggling domestic political pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to take sides as the White House’s calls for a cease-fire have gone unheeded. Several leading Democratic lawmakers were gearing up to call on the Biden administration to pause a $735 million arms sale to Israel amid the violence before changing course on Tuesday. House Foreign Affairs Chair Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said the decision was made after the White House offered to brief members of Congress on the issue on Wednesday, though that reversal has rankled some Democrats supportive of the pressure tactic. The situation was not far from the stage during Tuesday’s event.
Among those in attendance was Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), one of the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress and who has pushed the Biden administration to take a firmer stance toward Israel over its use of force amid the unrest. Tlaib has family living in the region, and Biden said he was keeping them in his prayers. “I admire your intellect and passion and concern for so many other people,” Biden said. “You are a fighter, and God thank you for being a fighter.” Biden also spoke to Tlaib as he arrived in Michigan, though after the president’s speech she declined a reporter’s inquiry about what the two discussed. It was also evident that Biden wanted to steer the attention toward the new car, rather than clashes between Israel and Palestinians. He rebuffed a reporter’s attempt to ask him about the situation, “unless you get in front of the car as I step on it.” “I’m only teasing,” Biden said.
Auto Care Association Applauds FTC Report on Anti-Competitive Repair Restrictions by Camille Sheehan, Auto Care Association
The Auto Care Association on May 7 applauded a report issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “Nixing the Fix: An FTC Report to Congress on Repair Restrictions.” The report found “there is scant evidence to support manufacturer justifications for repair restriction” and stated the FTC “stands ready to work with lawmakers, either at the state or federal level, to ensure that consumers have choices when they need to repair products that they purchase and own.” “We are pleased that the commission listened to the testimony from our association, as well as the other groups, during the 2019 ‘Nix the Fix’ hearing and took into consideration the information that
we submitted to the agency over many years,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “The Auto Care Association is proud of its efforts to secure right to repair legislation both on a state and federal level and we hope that this report will be the beginning of increased efforts by the commission to join us in addressing the anti-competitive actions of vehicle manufacturers,” Hanvey added. “We fully support the FTC’s efforts in ensuring that consumers continue to have choices on where they have their vehicle repaired.” Visit autocare.org/government-relations to learn more about the Auto Care Association’s right to repair initiatives. Source: Auto Care Association
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Ford Reports 1Q Net Income of $3.3B, Best in a Decade First-quarter operating improvements around the globe, customer receptivity to new products and Ford’s skillful management of the effects from a worldwide semiconductor shortage contributed to one of its strongest operating performances in years. “Our team is relentlessly executing our plan to turn around our automotive business so that we can create and deliver the high-value, always-on experience that our Ford and Lincoln customers deserve,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president and CEO. “There’s no question we’re becoming a stronger, more resilient company.” Ford’s first-quarter revenue increased to $36.2 billion, producing net income of $3.3 billion, its best since 2011, and record adjusted EBIT of $4.8 billion. Quarterly adjusted EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of $4.8 billion included a noncash gain of $902 million on Ford’s investment in Rivian. The gain, from Rivian’s Series F funding round in January, was factored into 2021 guidance Ford provided in early February. Adjusted EBIT additionally benefited from robust customer demand for the company’s new products, tight vehicle inventories and favorable year-over-year cost performance. The strength of Ford’s first-quarter results was geographically broadbased, with automotive EBIT outside North America totaling $454 million, compared with a loss of $526 million last year. Reported first-quarter cash flow from operations was $4.5 billion. Despite the strong quarterly adjusted EBIT, adjusted free cash flow was negative $396 million, primarily reflecting the temporary effects of adverse timing differences and higher inventory as a result of the global semiconductor shortage. Ford CFO John Lawler said semiconductor availability, which was exacerbated by a fire at a supplier plant in Japan in March, will get worse before it gets better. Currently, the company believes the issue will bottom out during the second quarter, with improvement through the remainder of the year. In the meantime, he said the company’s attention is on managing the supply chain around the clock,
every day, and enhancing execution in Ford’s underlying business. As examples of the latter, he pointed to recent high-quality launches of the Mustang Mach-E SUV, all-new 2021 F-150 pickup and Bronco Sport SUV. First-quarter warranty costs improved by more than $400 million from a year ago. “Seeing our people transforming Ford at the same time they’re navigating the effects of a global pandemic and serious supply chain issuesis impressive and gratifying,” said Lawler. “We’re changing the trajectory of our earnings power and our ability to invest in customer experience and growth.” Customers appear to be noticing. Data intelligence company Morning Consult reported Ford among the companies in U.S. gaining consumer trust. The improvement was attributed chiefly to Ford engineering, producing and distributing millions of pieces of equipment to help protect communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ford’s first-quarter revenue in North America increased 5% to $23 billion, benefiting from strong customer demand for Mustang Mach-E, the all-new 2021 F-150 and Bronco Sport and tight vehicle inventories related to semiconductor-related production declines. SUVs and pickups both accounted for increased shares of regional sales. EBIT rose to $2.9 billion. The semiconductor shortage has prompted Ford to accelerate modernization of its sales processes―incorporating new ordering capabilities to make them more appealing to customers, raise inventory turn rates, and reduce and maintain inventories below traditional levels. Mustang Mach-E illustrates the related potential: 70% of customers who purchased the batteryelectric SUV are new to Ford. So far, twothirds of reservations for the all-electric SUV have been converted to orders. Further enhancements to the online shopping process―developed in collaboration with dealers―went live in March. The reservations-to-orders rate is similar for the reimagined, all-new Bronco, sales of which are expected to start this summer. Ford is also making good on its
26 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
commitment to lead the electrification revolution in transportation. In addition to bringing more electrified vehicles to market, the company announced formation of a new global battery center of excellence, Ford Ion Park, to accelerate researchand development of battery and battery-cell technology and include future battery manufacturing. Lawler said Ford was among the first automakers to identify the potential for a 10% to 20% adverse effect on manufacturing volumes from increasing constraints on global semiconductor supplies entering 2021. In early February, the company said the risk had the potential to reduce Ford’s full-year adjusted EBIT by $1 billion to $2.5 billion. Ford has updated its 2021 outlook to account for expanded consequences from the semiconductor shortage, made worse by the recent supplier fire in Japan. While the issue is a significant headwind to the company, Lawler said Ford is taking definitive actions to address a range of possible outcomes.
Largely because of the additional effect of the supplier fire, Ford now expects to lose about 50% of its planned second-quarter production, up from 17% in the first quarter―again, implying Q2 will be the trough of the issue. Ford anticipates the flow of semiconductors from the Japan supplier to resume by the end of the second quarter―but, like many others in the industry, that the broader global semiconductor shortage may not be fully resolved until 2022. The company now assumes it will lose 10% of planned second-half 2021 production. All told, Ford now expects to lose about 1.1 million units of production this year to the semiconductor shortage. Accordingly, the company anticipates full-year 2021 adjusted EBIT to be between $5.5 billion and $6.5 billion, including an adverse effect of about $2.5 billion from the semiconductor issue. Adjusted free cash flow for the full year is projected to be $500 million to $1.5 billion. Source: Ford
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Gerber Collision & Glass Acquires Three Repair Centers in Hawaii The Boyd Group Inc. announced the acquisition of three collision repair centers in Hawaii. This marks the Boyd Group’s entry into its 30th state in the U.S. These locations in Kaneohe, Wahiawa and Waipahu previously operated as Sigs Collision Centers, originating in 1976 in
Waipahu and under most recent ownership since 2006. The Wahiawa location was added in 2007 and Kaneohe in 2017. All are on the island of Oahu, which is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and home to approximately 1 million people, about two-thirds of Hawaii’s overall population. A five-hour flight west from Los Angeles, Oahu is home to Honolulu, the largest city in Hawaii and the state capital, in addition to Pearl Harbor and the
iconic Waikiki Beach. Kaneohe is approximately 12 miles northeast of Honolulu and one of the largest residential communities on the windward (eastern) side of the island. Kaneohe is along Kaneohe Bay, which is known for calm water and popular for boating, fishing, diving and kayaking. Approximately 21 miles north of Honolulu, Wahiawa is in the “central valley” area, located between the two volcanic mountains that comprise the island. Wahiawa is surrounded on three sides by Lake Wilson and accessible by two bridges. Many U.S. military facilities are nearby including Schofield Barracks, which in itself is larger than Wahiawa. Waipahu is located approximately 15 miles northwest of Honolulu and just north of Pearl Harbor on the northern shore of both Middle Loch and West Loch (lakes) of Pearl Harbor. “Aloha and welcome to our newest team members who come aboard with a strong reputation
for providing outstanding customer service and high-quality repairs,” said Kevin Burnett, COO of Gerber Collision & Glass. “We look forward to introducing our brand to these communities and further assisting our insurance partners in these markets as we expand to a new state.” The Boyd Group is continuously looking to add new collision repair locations to its existing network in Canada and the U.S. Interested collision repair center owners are asked to contact Jason Hope, vice president of business development and strategic projects, at (530) 774-3887 or email@example.com. Source: The Boyd Group Inc.
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Insure.com, a comprehensive resource for insurance information, released its 12th annual ranking of the most and least expensive new vehicles to insure. The new report, ranking the most expensive and cheapest cars to insure for 2021, finds the Chrysler Voyager minivan peeling into first place this year, with the lowest national average insurance premium of $1,272 annually. The top five least expensive new cars to insure in 2021 are the Chrysler Voyager L, average price $1,272; Honda CR-V LX, $1,285; Mazda CX-3 Sport, $1,294; Fiat 500X Trekking, $1,301; and Honda HR-V LX, $1,322. This year’s five most expensive new cars to insure are the Maserati Quattroporte S GranSport, average price $4,823; Maserati Ghibli S Q4 GranSport, $4,208; Tesla Model S Performance (Plaid), $4,143; Tesla Model X Performance (Plaid), $4,025; and BMW M760i xDrive, $3,914. Source: Insure.com
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autobodynews.com / JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 29
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.
Collision Repair Industry Has a New Voice on OEM Safety Inspections One of the issues I have written and spoken about most passionately recently―including being quoted in an article on the front page of Autobody News in April―is my belief the post-collision safety inspections called for by most automakers are the single biggest friction point in the collision repair industry right now.
touch with some of the OEMs to have a direct dialogue to better understand this issue. It was an insurer seeking to do the right thing. So I want to give a shout-out to that insurer―even though I can’t identify them here―and to the OEMs that agreed to speak with that company. I want to give a shout-out to FCA, now part of Stellantis, for
I-CAR has posted a brief form shops can use to submit information on the safety inspections they perform, what triggered the inspections and what was found
We see shops looking to do the right thing, but getting pushback from third-party payers. This is why I want to give a shout-out to the team at I-CAR. They recently held a virtual summit in regards to automaker safety inspections as the start of some dialogue about what some OEMs require, when those inspections are needed, what outcomes they produce and what they can prevent. I-CAR invited participants from all industry stakeholders―OEMs, insurers and collision repairers― and about 150 people participated. This is important because it’s only when we start talking about these issues that we can work toward resolution while ensuring the vehicle owner gets a complete and safe repair. It would have been unrealistic to go into that virtual summit expecting a solution would come out of just one meeting. But I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen happening since that time. I had one specific insurer, for example, ask me to put them in
publishing an updated statement this spring to provide more clarity in regard to steering columns after a collision. The automaker also held a webinar for its certified collision repair shops to give those collision professionals a chance to hear from the automaker’s technical experts and get more information about safety inspections. Thank you to the team at FCA. They heard the voice of the industry, and said, “Let’s engage in some dialogue on this.” There’s another automaker that, depending on when you are reading this, has announced, or will soon, a new matrix and parameters for the safety inspections on its vehicles, to narrow down which are required under which circumstances. But there’s another thing that resulted from that I-CAR summit, and this is where I’m issuing a call to action to you. I-CAR wants to continue to move this issue forward with all stakeholders, but needs more data to do so. So I-CAR has posted a brief form** shops can use to submit information on the safety
30 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
inspections they perform, what triggered the inspections, and what was found. You find that form at https:// rts.i-car.com/srs-inspection-feed back-form I strongly encourage you to take action and regularly submit information to I-CAR. When the OEM procedures for a vehicle you are repairing call for a seat belt inspection, or call for R&I for inspection of an airbag sensor or module, or require you to measure the steering column or to R&I the dash to check the support brace, submit those examples to I-CAR. Whether those inspections reveal damage or not, submit that to I-CAR. Those of you who know me know I always seem to have a new saying or expression I recite regularly. My current one is this: There are people in life who WATCH stuff
happen, and there are people in life who MAKE stuff happen. I’m choosing to be someone who makes stuff happen. And that’s what I want to invite you to do. Don’t sit on the sidelines and complain about these issues. Let your voice be heard. My biggest concern is that I-CAR, in an effort to move this issue forward, sets up this data collection, but nobody submits any examples. They’re going to say: This isn’t an issue. But it is an issue, an important issue. But if we don’t submit anything to I-CAR so they can see it is, then shame on us. We have an avenue to have a voice, a way to have our voice heard. So I strongly encourage you to use it. This is the only way to further the dialogue to find a solution that works for everyone. As I also often say: Don’t delay; do it today.
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VW Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over ‘Voltswagen’ by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com
A Volkswagen class action lawsuit has been filed by an investor who claims the “Voltswagen” April Fools’ Day joke was no joke, but is worthy of a lawsuit. Plaintiff Gerald M. Montag says he purchased securities at artificially inflated prices when Volkswagen announced it was changing its name to “Voltswagen.” Also sued are CEO Scott Keogh and VW’s Acting Head of Communications Mark Gillies. The VW class action lawsuit includes “persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired publicly traded Volkswagen securities between March 29, 2021, and March 30, 2021.” On March 29, 2021, Volkswagen published a “draft” of a press release on its website for a short time announcing a name change to “Voltswagen;” however, the draft press release had the incorrect date of April 29. The class action lawsuit says multiple news agencies confirmed the name change with VW, includ-
ing CNBC which published a story titled, “VW accidentally leaks new name for its U.S. operations: Voltswagen.” “Volkswagen accidentally posted a press release on its website a month early on [March 29] announcing a new name for its U.S. operations, Voltswagen of America, emphasizing the German automaker’s electric vehicle efforts,” the CNBC story said. “A person familiar with the company’s plans confirmed the authenticity of the release to CNBC. They asked to remain anonymous because the plans were not meant to be public yet.” To “preserve elements of Volkswagen’s heritage,” the release said the company planned to retain the dark blue color of the VW logo for gas-powered vehicles and use light blue to differentiate “the new, EV-centric branding.” The press release said Voltswagen of America would remain an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America and a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG. Although the draft press release was quickly yanked offline,
on March 30 VW republished the press release entitled, “Voltswagen: A new name for a new era of e-mobility,” announcing the company’s name change to “Voltswagen,” this time with the correct date of March 30. But the press release was also taken down later that day. The VW class action lawsuit alleges the automaker made false and/or misleading statements and/ or failed to disclose that “Voltswagen” was never going to be used by the company. Further, the plaintiff claims VW’s spokespeople purposefully misled reporters regarding the alleged “joke.” “We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren’t changing is this brand’s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” Keogh was quoted as saying in the press release. Even the Associated Press was taken in by the “joke,” but later released a statement about the matter. “The Associated Press was repeatedly assured by Volkswagen that its U.S. subsidiary planned a
name change, and reported that information, which we now know to be false,” said Lauren Easton, AP company spokeswoman. “We have corrected our story and published a new one based on the company’s admission. This and any deliberate release of false information hurts accurate journalism and the public good.” The Volkswagen class action lawsuit says the ADRs fell $2.14 per ADR, or more than 5% over the next two full trading days, to close at $35.58 per share on April 1, allegedly damaging investors. In response to the Voltswagen fallout, the automaker said it couldn’t “see any influence on the stock market price as a result of the advertising campaign.” The VW class action lawsuit over “Voltswagen” was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Gerald M. Montag v. Volkswagen AG, et al. The plaintiff is represented by the Rosen Law Firm. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.
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How to Get Your Customers to Trust You in a Skeptical World by Ed Attanasio
Do your customers trust you? If so, how and if not―why? People want to trust their financial advisors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, politicians and, yes, the people who work on their cars. But many consumers entering any business transaction are often skeptical at the outset, and that’s why trust has to be established and reinforced over time. Every business wants its customers to trust them and feel comfortable enough to use their services again and refer them to others. A body shop is being judged every day―by its customers, insurance partners and vendors, and in a world of instant transparency, trust is more important. Throw in the pandemic and a full year of uncertainty, and people are more skeptical about everything now. One body shop owner told me recently he doesn’t even ask what’s next, he just puts his head down and gets the work done, in order to maintain his sanity. “20/20,” “60 Minutes,” “Fight Back! With David Horowitz,” “CBC Marketplace,” “Project Bumper” and “The Investigators” have produced multiple TV episodes about body shops ripping off customers. I recently saw a news segment produced by CBS Chicago designed to protect consumers, but they also scare them. As a result, many vehicle owners are wary before they even enter any repair facility for the first time. In the old days, these types of reports appeared on TV once or twice, but now they’re available on YouTube 24/7. Bad press illustrates the importance of building trust with your customers. In general, American drivers don’t trust auto mechanics, according to a AAA survey. It found 66% of drivers do not trust car repair shops in general, though 64% indicated they do take their car currently to a repair shop with a reliable mechanic whom they can trust. The AAA survey also shows 33%―75 million motorists in total―are still trying to find a trusted service department, which leaves
them vulnerable for when their car breaks down. Here are the top reasons why American drivers mistrust automotive repair shops, both mechanical and collision:
Collision repair is one of those how important they are to establish industries where the average custom- trust with your customer. Point them er is already disgruntled, so the goal out when they show up to your shop is to both placate them and get them for an estimate, almost like a checkto trust you―and that’s not easy. list, because studies prove that when In most cases, your customer is you show someone five truths, they in a rush and wants everything done feel you are trustworthy.” Recommends unnecessary services yesterday. No one ever says, “Hey― Here is an example of five truths (76%) let’s have some fun and get our car communicated during the first 10 Overcharges (73%) serviced!” Vehicle repairs rank right minutes interacting with the cusA negative experience (53%) up there with trips to the dentist. tomer for the first time: the appear John Stuef is an industry con- ance of your shop/reception area; the Sub-quality work (49%) sultant, life coach and the author way your people dress and speak; Other main offenders include charging of “From Doing to Leading: Your the plaques on your walls showing Guide for Inspiring People I-CAR, training and OE certificafor OE parts that are either on the Front Lines.” He tions; the overall attitude in the shop; aftermarket parts, phantom has managed MSO shops and the thoroughness of the estimate. repairs, lapses in communication and bait-and-switch for decades and dealt with Stuef claims you can’t build tactics. literally thousands of cus- rapport until you establish trust, and Interestingly, older vetomers, so the topic of trust the best way is with the five truisms. hicle owners from the Baby is a subject Stuef has been One way to build trust is by Boomer generation are most John Stuef, industry studying for decades and using technology to provide a betlikely to trust car repair fa- consultant, life coach developing techniques to ter experience for your clients. By cilities, compared to Millen- and author, said if address it. using today’s tools, you can enable nials and Gen-Xers. Twenty you can establish “Trust is built when peo- them to make their lives easier and five truisms with percent of Boomers surveyed ple see that your actions line drama-free. a new customer, for the AAA study say they they will trust you up with the words you say,” Now they can eliminate phone Stuef said. “I often talk calls and paperwork; they can com“totally trust” the auto repair completely industry. about the five truisms and See Skeptical World, Page 50 In addition, Boomers are also more likely to have a car repair shop they trust (76%), compared with 55% of Millennials and 56% of Gen-Xers. Philip Reed, a reporter for Edmunds, interviewed a handful of body shop owners for a blog, “ConCompetitive Pricing and Discounts fessions from the Auto Body Shop, Get Your Car Fixed Right WithKnowledgeable & Helpful Staff out Getting Ripped Off.” He interLarge Inventory of Wholesale Parts viewed shop owners off the record, so he got truly candid reactions. Reed heard things like, “I don’t care what state you live in, for every 10 body shops, three of them are unethical and five of them do mediocre work at best;” “The last thing we want is a bad reputation or reports of poor customer service;” “Most body shop owners are very concerned about getting good feedback and building a list of customers Fax 909.889.1741 who’ll come back next time work is needed.” Parts Hours So, if indeed 30% of all the 292 North G Street shops out there are shady, how do Mon-Fri 7:30-5:30 San Bernardino, CA 92410 you convince the public you are a member of that 70% category? How do you build trust with customers who are not in a positive space after an accident has added a bunch of drama to their lives?
32 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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Industry Insight with John Yoswick
—John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). Contact him by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.
CIC Speakers Discuss Employment Issues Related to Vaccines, Fire-Related Concerns with EVs
California-based employment law that it would create an undue hardattorney Cory King told Collision ship, and that is defined as having Industry Conference (CIC) attend- more than a ‘de minimis’ cost or with Ed Attanasio ees in April that while employers burden on the employer,” an analycan require workers to get vaccinat- sis an employment lawyer can walk ed for COVID-19, they should make you through. sure they get legal guidance in do- Concerns about long-term efing so to avoid violating any state or fects of the vaccine or belief “it’s federal regulations. a government science experiment” “The short with answerEd is Attanasio yes, you cannot negate an employer mandate can [require vaccines], but as with because “fear is not a protected cateanything in the law, it’s not that sim- gory,” King said. “But before you force someple,” King said. King predicated his presenta- body to get vaccinated, or fire sometion by saying he can’t provide legal body because they refuse to get vacadvice in such a setting, but was of- cinated, I strongly encourage you to fering some issues business owners make the phone call to your attorwith Ed Attanasio would want to discuss with their le- ney,” he said. There are also privacy protecgal counsel. King said in most states, for ex- tion steps to take if an employer ample, employees must be paid for collects proof of vaccination from their time getting vaccinated if it’s employees. King was asked what an a job requirement. Some with Edemployers Attanasio employer should do if an employee have sought to reduce this cost by asks how many of their coworkers bringing in someone to do the vacci- are vaccinated. nations in-house, King said, but un- “I would recommend against der that scenario, employers must be [revealing] anything [related to that] careful to avoid violating the Amer- unless you have some local or state icans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation that says you need to,” King said. “Because that immedirelative to medical inquiries, with Staceygiven Phillips that pre-screening questions are re- ately starts the witch hunt: Who’s quired for those getting vaccinated. vaccinated? Who’s not? You argu “If they don’t want to answer ably could be viewed as disclosing. those questions, or they answer them It’s not worth the risk. I would not and are denied the opportunity to get go into that. I can’t give a specific answer without researching it to the vaccine because don’t pass withthey Stacey Phillips the pre-screening, you cannot ask make sure there’s nothing specific them why they did not get vaccinat- to [your] locality. But the general ed,” King said. “If you do, you are recommendation is I would not be arguably potentially running afoul disclosing anything like this.” of the ADA.” Employers also have to provide Equipment, Insurance Issues for EV with Stacey Phillips “a reasonable accommodation” for Repairs those not willing to be vaccinated A number of speakers at CIC disbecause of a religious or “sincerely cussed some of the fire-related safety held belief,” he said, but again, this precautions shops should take relais an area where a company should tive to regularly having electric veget legal advice. Don’t question the hicles―especially those with lithium sincerity of their belief or get into batteries―in the shop for repairs. with Stacey Phillips an argument over this, King said. “One thing is to call your [busiRather, acknowledge what they are ness] insurance company and find saying, tell them you will look into out how this may impact your preit and get legal advice. miums,” said Mark Quarto of Fu “You can make it through this, turetech, an electric vehicle training no question,” King said. “The way organization. “They probably will you would overcome that is to show have some ideas on other things
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you’ll need to do with your building.” David Willett with ProSight Specialty Insurance concurred. “It does take additional coverage, and it does take additional risk measures,” he said. “We get asked those questions from the knowledgeable [shops]. The scary ones are the ones that don’t ask those questions. The industry is woefully unprepared for this.” Quarto said it is also advisable to make sure “the fire marshal is alerted to what you’re doing in your building.” He said the National Fire Protective Association is currently “finalizing some requirements for where battery packs are to be stored, how far they need to be apart when they are stored when they are out of the vehicle.” Quarto was asked what body shops should look for in an electric
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vehicle charging station for their shop. He said most EVs will be compatible with any 220-volt charger that is SAE J 1772 compliant. “It’s considered to be a Level 2 charger,” he said, which can charge most vehicles in four or five hours, as compared to a 110-volt charger that will require two or three times that long. “There are some other options, fast-charging, but typically a shop isn’t going to need a fast charger. They’re very expensive. The J 1772 chargers are anywhere from $300 to $800, maybe $1,000.” It will require a dedicated 220volt circuit, he said. “Nothing else on there. Otherwise the charger will get tripped all the time,” Quarto said. Another speaker during the discussion of EVs at CIC mentioned shops may want a forklift to load or unload EV battery packs into or
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34 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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from delivery vehicles. Willett said forklifts are another item to discuss with your business insurer. “We haven’t had those in many shops, and for those in the collision repair industry thinking about having a forklift, there’s a lot of additional training and safety requirements,” he said. CIC Among First In-Person Meetings The discussion took place during the first of the quarterly CIC meetings held in-person since January of last year. Organizers said about 130 people attended the meeting in Phoenix―about half as many as is typical―but the meeting was open to “virtual attendees” as well. “We’ve been very anxious to get back to a live scenario,” CIC Chairman Darrell Amberson said at the conclusion of the first day of the two-day meeting. “We knew there were some risks with that. We knew that hardly anyone else in the industry is meeting live. But we also felt like somebody has to be the first to jump off the dock. I’ll say right now, the water feels pretty darn good. It’s been absolutely terrific.”
LexisNexis U.S. Auto Insurance Trends Report Shows COVID-19’s Impact on the Industry LexisNexis Risk Solutions on May 10 released its 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Trends Report, which aggregates annual market data about driving behaviors, auto insurance shopping, underwriting and claims to help insurance carriers better understand the shifting landscape. This year’s report analyzes 2020 data to reveal changes in consumer behavior, carriers’ reaction and the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the auto insurance industry. It also provides auto insurance carriers with trended insights to help improve their capabilities and competitiveness across the auto insurance lifecycle. “When we look at all of the 2020 auto insurance trends, we can see a pattern that comes from a series of disassociated events,” said Adam Pichon, vice president and general manager, auto insurance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “While the evolving impact of the pandemic is still unknown, understanding these trends and evaluating their projections can help insurers make better business decisions and more
confidently prepare for the future regardless of unexpected market turbulence.” The report looks at how consumer behavior and carrier business practices tied to the auto insurance policy lifecycle diverged in 2020 from the patterns we typically see―largely due to the influence of COVID-19. Auto Insurance Trends Highlights a Rollercoaster Year The auto insurance shopping data fluctuations were turbulent throughout 2020. However, year over year, 2020 shopping volumes closed 5.3% higher than 2019 with an annual year-end shop rate of 41%. Cyclical policy renewal patterns for many consumers were interrupted by the pandemic with new business policies written down 12.6% in April 2020 and 10.4% year over year. Even so, this unusual activity still prompted an overall net increase for 2020, bringing market retention to 83%. Empty roadways gave rise to dangerous driving behavior with a noted increase in high-speed in-
stances first observed in mid-March 2020 and that held at 10% higher than 2019 figures for the remainder of the year. New generational data illustrated an increase of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) violations among younger drivers―particularly those in the Generation Z age segment, with an approximate 50% increase in recorded violations in March and April of 2020. Collision claims decreased, but severity rose, much like the reduction in total miles driven, the volume of collisions and subsequent claims dropped considerably. Collision severity saw a 3.7% year-over-year increase in 2020. The trends identified in this year’s report highlight several opportunities for auto insurance carriers to improve their business operations regarding quoting, underwriting and claims, and prepare for any future disruptions. Source: LexisNexis
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autobodynews.com / JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 35
Tips for Busy Body Shops
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.
with Stacey Phillips
Best Practices for an Effective Health and Safety Program An effective health and safety pro- Curtis. “I was impressed with our gram can help collision repair facil- team keeping up with the services ities reduce injury and illness rates, and demands.” with compensation Stacey Phillips decrease workers’ Autobody News reached out to costs, increase productivity and im- Curtis to learn more about the improve morale across the workforce, portance of establishing an effective according to Wayne Curtis, direc- health and safety program that entor of field services at KPA. sures compliance with national and Based in Lafayette, CO, KPA state regulations. provides environment, health and safety (EHS) and workplace comwith Victoria Antonelli How can a collision repair pliance software and services for a facility ensure proper compliwide range of industries, including ance? automotive. Each year, about 100 KPA safeI recommend starting with ty specialists conduct audits at more the basics. The first step is to than 2,000 auto collision-related fa- evaluate the shop’s current situation cilities across the U.S.,Ed Puerto Rico and do an assessment. with Attanasio and Canada to determine if busi- I’m emphatic that all collision nesses are compliant. Once the eval- repairers should perform an audit to identify environmental and safety risks. This will help determine the necessary actions to meet mandatory requirements, avoid citations and with Gary Ledouxpotential legal action. Third-party companies, such as KPA, are available for these types of audits. After reviewing the inspection results, the next step is to determine the priorities when developing a health and safety program that adWayne Curtis of KPA said providing regular dresses the high-risk areas in your safety training for employees helps collision with Stacey Phillips workplace. All collision centers are repair facilities establish a safety culture and is proven to reduce injuries required to have a written hazard communication program and prouations are complete, the company vide training to employees as a basic then discusses concerning issues, of- Occupational Safety and Health Adfers recommendations and conducts ministration (OSHA) requirement. training if necessary. Facilities are also required to with Mike Anderson “The goal is to help companies install a program to protect workproactively identify risks, stay up- ers from respiratory hazards. Shop to-date on evolving regulations and owners and managers can ask themkeep workers safe,” said Curtis, who selves: “Are all employees trained has worked with KPA for 17 years. on our workplace hazards and how He estimates KPA completed to protect themselves? Have emmore than 20,000 in-person and vir- ployees who wear tight-fitting restual field visits to auto dealerships, pirators been fit tested? Have they collision repair shops, trucking and been medically evaluated to wear a rental car locations in 2020. This respirator and do you have proof of is a similar number that took place medical clearance on file?” prior to the pandemic. In addition, If the answer is “no” and a facilthe company conducted 1.2 million ity determines that it doesn’t have a trainings last year, the majority of good process in place, it’s important which were online. to find someone who can assist. Not “It was certainly challenging only can it help streamline the steps for us during the pandemic,” said needed to navigate the maze of regu-
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lations, but it can also bring the shop to a level of compliance sooner, faster and less expensive than you can do on your own. In addition, facilities should pay close attention to environmental requirements. This includes practices related to waste management, documenting hazardous waste inspections, container labeling and retaining waste manifests. A safe workplace requires more than just being compliant. Periodic evaluations can help identify weaknesses in the processes your company uses to address hazards. By being proactive, it allows everyone to have the knowledge to identify and resolve hazards before they create a serious incident.
What types of regulations should repair facilities be aware
There are requirements by OSHA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT), as well as state regulations. The collision industry is heavily regulated when it comes to EHS. The same standards that apply to auto dealerships apply to collision centers. It’s imperative to have the tools, resources and equipment that allow for the most compliant and safe applications. It seems that the Biden administration is paying close attention to the environment, specifically the Clean Air Act. I’ve also seen increased activity with the EPA 6H Rule, the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. EPA Region 4 recently sent out letters to collision centers reminding who is subject to 6H rule requirements and emphasizing the impor-
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tance of compliance. The 6H rule requires an initial notification form to be sent to the EPA, ongoing employee training and other requirements such as paint booth filter efficiency and HVLP paint guns. The industry is adapting to these rules. With newer paint lines carrying fewer heavy metals, petitioning the EPA for an exemption is now possible. We are very focused on that right now and feel that it will be a key focus area over the next few years. The EPA Clean Air Act penalty policy is stringent and has escalation factors for larger businesses. The EPA expects larger companies, that have better funding and resources, to use these resources to achieve compliance. If non-compliance is observed, an economic penalty is assessed based on the size of the violator. If you are an MSO and have one facility that is not compliant, you could be looking at hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars of liability. It’s critical for shops to develop written compliance programs for federal and state safety regulations. In some areas of the country, such as California, it can be really challenging to keep up with the regulatory climate without having a dedicated EHS person on your staff. Compliance is often very complex and having a consulting company that comes in to help navigate can be advantageous.
What are some best practices facilities can put into place?
Business success cannot occur without having a workforce educated in industry regulations, internal policies, safety and ethics. At a minimum, all employees should be trained on the types of hazards that are present and where they can get access to information about chemicals that can lead to these types of situations. This is where compliance training can be so helpful. Many accidents that take place in the workplace are avoidable. Providing regular safety training for employees helps you establish a safety culture and is proven to reduce injuries. I always recommend establishing a safety committee and holding
regular meetings. It’s a great way to keep your team up-to-date with EHS initiatives and helps adds a strategy on how to achieve your EHS goals. A good rule of thumb is having a quarterly safety committee meeting to assign preventative actions, develop incentive and enforcement programs and review processes. Helpful checklists and resources are available at https://www.kpa. io.
What are some of the most impactful changes you have seen as a result of COVID-19?
There are a lot of changes regarding regulations that have happened since the pandemic. In March 2021, an OSHA Directive was released, outlining the policies and procedures for implementing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for COVID-19. The NEP focuses on high-hazard industries such as health care and dentistry, which are more likely to come in direct contact with COVID-19 positive cases. The collision industry was not listed as a primary focus of the NEP. When President Biden came into office, OSHA provided updated COVID guidance within a week. Since that time, we’ve seen the initial steps towards scaling back of CDC guidance. We expect that’s a sign of the vaccinations and more information on the risk of infection. President Biden also asked OSHA to investigate if an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), a new OSHA standard, should be issued regarding COVID. On April 26, OSHA issued a proposal for a Federal ETS to be issued. An ETS would effectively bypass the normal rulemaking process of OSHA. If adopted, OSHA would have six months to adopt a permanent rule. We expect to know more about the details of OSHA’s proposed rule soon. In regard to local COVID regulations, these still remain very different and under direct enforcement. It’s imperative to follow what is going on in the state, county and city where your business operates. That can be very challenging since each local area has done things very differently in regulating the pandemic.
38 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
What are some of your predictions for the future?
Short-term, we should expect a loosening of COVID guidelines and a greater consideration on the risk of infection. I recommend all businesses to continue to remain in alignment with CDC and OSHA guidelines even while vaccinations increase and local regulations are lifted. Long-term, it will be interesting to see the Biden administration’s activities and how that will impact our industry. Over time, we expect increased budgets to be passed for agencies such as OSHA, EPA and DOT. Likewise, we should expect increased funding for enforcement, leading to more boots-on-the-ground inspectors performing more frequent inspections. Protecting the environment was a key campaign pledge for Biden so we will be keeping a close eye on any areas of emphasis, namely air and water. KPA will remain on the lookout for any areas that impact collision centers and how we comply. On the federal level, 6H will
continue to be a focus. Also, we expect to see increased enforcement under the Clean Air Act penalty policy for car and truck modifications that reduce the original manufacturer emissions settings or equipment. The ultimate goal should be to have an overall compliance program for your business. We all have challenges hiring workers and if we’re down one or two employees due to an entirely preventable safety accident, it speaks directly to the bottom line. By implementing good strategies and being compliant, the fewer incidents shops will have and the less likely they will be involved in litigation. From an owner’s perspective, you can sleep better at night knowing you have an established compliance program in place to help ensure a safe, healthy, compliant and productive workplace. You limit your risks and know your employees will return home in good health to their family members.
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Tesla and Its Peers Proving EVs Inherently Safer than Combustion Cars Mustang Mach-E were able to secure high rankings in the IIHS’ An analysis of insurance data in stringent safety tests, with the forthe U.S. has shown injury claims mer receiving a Top Safety Pick+ are notably less common among award and the latter receiving a all-electric vehicles like the Tesla lower but still impressive Top SafeModel 3 and its peers. ty Pick rating. The findings were shared by Other all-electric vehicles, most the Insurance Institute for Highway notably the Tesla Model 3, the Audi Safety (IIHS) in a recent report, e-tron and the Audi e-tron Sportback, have qualified for the 2021 Top Safety Pick+ award. The release of the XC40 Recharge and Mach-E’s stay ratings coincided with a recent study of insurance losses for electric vehicles by the IIHS-affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute. The study looked at electric and conventional versions of nine vehicles produced from 2011 and 2019, and it examined colTesla Model 3 undergoes crash tests with the IIHS. lision, property damage Credit: IIHS liability and injury claims. which followed the release of its As per the study’s findings, safety ratings for the 2021 Volvo the rates of injury claims related to XC40 Recharge and the Ford Mus- drivers and passengers of electric vehicles were more than 40% lower tang Mach-E. The XC40 Recharge and the compared to their internal combusby Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
tion-powered counterparts between 2011 and 2019. The IIHS notes these results were similar to the findings of an earlier study from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) that focused on hybrid cars, which pointed out the lower injury rates may be due to the weight of the vehicles’ batteries. As per the HLDI, the large batteries used in hybrids make vehicles substantially heavier than conventional cars. Occupants of heavier vehicles are exposed to lower forces in multi-vehicle crashes. Matt Moore, HLDI vice president, explained these findings in a statement. “Weight is a big factor. Hybrids on average are 10% heavier than their standard counterparts. This extra mass gives them an advantage in crashes that their conventional twins don’t have,” he said. This weight advantage is even more notable in all-electric cars like the Tesla Model 3, on account of their substantially larger battery packs. This was true for the XC40 Recharge, which features a curb weight of 4,787 lbs., significantly
heavier than the 3,811 lbs. of its combustion-powered counterpart. Even the Mach-E, an all-electric model, is hefty at 4,516 lbs. IIHS President David Harkey is optimistic about the study’s findings. In a statement, he noted the study further proves all-electric cars are as safe or even safer than conventional vehicles. This means a transition to sustainable vehicles would likely not require as many compromises on the part of consumers. “It’s fantastic to see more proof that these vehicles are as safe as or safer than gasoline- and diesel-powered cars. We can now say with confidence that making the U.S. fleet more environmentally friendly doesn’t require any compromises in terms of safety,” he said. We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.
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Collision Repair Veteran Brings I-CAR Training to Collision Industry in China strip where he worked with the pit crew. Tony has incredible hands that Like many others who work in the can fix or build anything he visualizcollision repair industry, you could es.” — Don Doak, lifelong friend. say Tony Simon grew up in a body We began to repair heavy-dushop. His great-grandpa, grandpa, ty trucks in 1964. Soon after, we dad and brothers all worked on vehi- stopped working on passenger vehicles, in some form or another. cles. As the business grew, we need Simon had a passion for cars ed more shop space and upgraded and turned that into a long-term ca- our equipment. reer where he had the opportunity to Shop employees were hard to work internationally, bring I-CAR come by as not many people worked training to China and meet some of on heavy trucks. Few auto techs the most dedicated collision repair- wanted to make the transition. As a ers along the way. Here is his story, result, we developed an in-shop trainas told to Stacey Phillips. ing program for repair procedures starting in the late 1960s. A man named Kevin Costner came to work for us after graduating from high school in 1979 and became a trusted employee. Kevin is currently a technical trainer at Gerber Collision. “Tony is a dreamer. He envisions a project and sees Pictured, left to right, are Sue Zheng; Zhang Jingwei, vice president of the China Automobile Maintenance and Repair it through. He doesn’t take Association; Ron Olsson, president of Pro Spot Internationrejection as a stopping point. al; and Tony Simon during a student skills competition in He works around it. Tony Wu Xi, China, in 2013 taught me to see the world I was born in Dallas, TX. Af- much differently… that there are no ter World War II, my dad worked restrictions in life. I can be the best I on John Deere tractors until he was can be at repairing vehicles and being hired at Ed Mauer Ford repairing a human being.” — Kevin Costner. and painting vehicles. We lived in In 1983, my Dad retired, so my a house with a very large garage brother and I closed the truck shop where he repaired what they called and I moved to Kauai, HI. I worked “re-builders.” as the body shop manager at Kuio Dad saved enough money to Motors, a small GM/Nissan dealer open his first body shop and I spent on the island’s south side. my free time on weekends and sum- We moved back to Texas in mers at his facility. I swept the floor, 1985 and I opened Simon Company cleaned the toilets, anything to be Body Shop the following year. As there. I admired the way people re- my business grew, I opened another paired and painted vehicles. shop nearby in 1987 to handle the Rudy, a painter and body man work volume. Kevin began working at the shop, taught me how to paint, with us again. Unfortunately, I needed to close along with my Dad and older broth- er and mentor, Fred. Fred was my my shops in 1991 due to a divorce. inspiration. We worked together for In 1996, I was hired as a body tech 20 years and he provided me with at a local GM dealership where I the skills and knowledge that I have worked for two years. depended on throughout my life. During this time, I attended my “Tony was born to be a body first I-CAR class. I became interestman. Even as a child, he was draw- ed in becoming an instructor and I ing custom cars. By the time he was contacted the I-CAR southwest rein junior high, he worked at his dad’s gional manager to begin that jourbody shop after school and Satur- ney. Jeff Peevy soon came on board days. Then on Sunday, he would go as the regional manager. He currentwith his dad and brother to the drag ly holds the position of vice presiby Stacey Phillips
42 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
dent, Technical Products, Programs & Services at I-CAR. I moved to New Zealand in 1998. I found a job in a panel beater shop (body shop) that participated in I-CAR training―A1 Paint and Body in Auckland, North Island, NZ. I worked in the paint shop as a prepper and eventually performed collision repair work while attending I-CAR classes. I also taught panel bonding on the North Island for New Zealand I-CAR. When my father passed away in 2000, I returned to the U.S from New Zealand. Jeff asked if I would conduct I-CAR classes for him in the Phoenix, AZ, and East Texas areas. “Tony has a genuine dedication to educating the industry and will go to extreme lengths to make it happen. Once, while preparing for an I-CAR regional conference, Tony drove 100 miles one way just to help load boxes because I had hurt my back. Tony never sought recognition for all the work he has done for the industry over the years. He
simply just wanted to see that people learned things they needed to know.” — Jeff Peevy. Several times, I drove non-stop from Arizona to Texas for a class in Ft. Worth and only had two students. To help solve the low-attendance problem, we came up with a plan under the I-CAR Fort Worth committee leadership of Dave Gauthier―to arrange some sponsors and give away two free classes. We held an awareness event called The I-CAR EXTREME and taught 237 students at one time. One of the sponsors was Tim Curran, owner of Car-O-Liner Southwest Company. Tim asked Ron Olsson, president of Pro Spot International, to donate a demonstration spot welder, as Tim sold both brands. Pro Spot sent a spot welder and an engineer, Bob Pulth, from the company’s California factory to demonstrate how to use it, because spot welding was a new technology to the collision industry back then. The demonstration included a chemist from Lord Fusor, who replaced
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repair shops, Mr. Wei. He understood the meaning of my lecture and began to change his shops over to 80/20 gas. This has been my main measure of success working in China. A teacher at the school knew that I had lived and worked in New Zealand and introduced me to Xiangyun Zheng (Sue), an English major at Shandong University in Jinan. Shortly after we met, I asked Sue to travel with me to a lecture and be my interpreter. In 2004, the Chinese government asked Sue and me to conduct an 11-month training program in 40 cities for the China Automobile Maintenance and Repair Association (CAMRA). As part of the program, there was a competition. We Tony Simon is shown giving a demonstration during trained 120 students in each the 10th China International Auto Repair Tech, Tool and city. The competition was a Equipment Fair in Beijing, China new endeavor for the collibought 100% CO2 gas to weld with sion industry in China and still takes place. because it was cheaper. One of the attendees was the The students measured and China National Model for collision pulled, MIG welded and spot-welded with a Pro Spot PR-2000 welder donated by Ron Olsson. Since 2005, Sue and I have traveled back and forth to China to focus on collision repair training and testing. We also taught in Taiwan and mainland China for AIG insurance. “When Tony headed to China, I don’t believe he knew anyone. He overcame the culture and language and I feel he even helped the collision industry there with training and his relationships with equipment companies here in the U.S.” — Kevin Costner. In 2006, we attended the I-CAR annual meeting in Scottsdale, AZ, and • Competitive Professionally Jeff suggested that we meet with the Pricing & Trained Wholesale Discounts Parts Specialists
a quarter panel with weld bonding prepared by Kevin and his team. Since that first event, many similar types of programs have been conducted. “Tony has definitely been a gifted teacher and very generously contributed his time and knowledge with many technicians over the years. Tony will always be remembered as a true pioneer with I-CAR and its training mission,” — Tim Curran. I had wanted to visit China since President Nixon traveled there. I learned that Car-O-liner was going to sell equipment in China, so I asked Tim to introduce me to CarO-Liner’s international sales rep. I arranged a meeting with the rep the following year and developed a plan. Car-O-Liner had a relationship with Shandong Jiatong University in China and provided them with a frame machine and measuring equipment. The school operated a shop on campus but did not use the equipment. The rep thought I could help him train the school and encourage
them to use the equipment. I made an agreement with the school to teach the students English while I also traveled for them, lecturing about collision repair. During the summer, I lectured at a China automobile association meeting in Yantai. I met a lot of leaders and spoke on the use of 75/25 gas in MIG welding. At that time, shops had MIG welders but
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head of the I-CAR weld test program about a new pilot program where testing was conducted in shops rather than schools. In addition to being president of Pro Spot, Ron was an I-CAR board member and was attending the conference. I asked if he could provide a trailer and welders for the pilot program and he said, “Yes.” Ron had recently sold welders to Sterling Auto Body and needed to provide MIG and spot-welding training for each of the 57 shops. Sue and I mapped a route of all the locations, found the Gold Class shops along the way and faxed ahead to see if any shops wanted tests performed. Most people thought we were scammers as no one had heard of inshop weld testing. We traveled more than 15,000 miles to 110 cities in 42 states over 10 months. Until October 2018, we spent 250 or more nights a year in a hotel on the road training and testing. I-CAR then asked that we work as consultants with their China endeavor. Over the years, many people and companies have requested that I-CAR train in China. We introduced I-CAR to some of our business friends in China and began to arrange face-to-face meetings in 2019, where Sue acted as the translator. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus began to spread and that ended all the work, here and in China. I hope the industry recognizes what a great opportunity that I-CAR has given our industry to gain the knowledge to repair today’s complex vehicles. Without I-CAR and the great people who are part of their leadership team, like John Van Alstyne, CEO and president, and Jeff Peevy, our industry wouldn’t be the same.
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Vehicle Trade-In Values Climb to All-Time Record High in March: Edmunds The car shopping experts at Edmunds say vehicle owners might be pleasantly surprised if they take a moment to check how much their car is worth right now. According to Edmunds data, the average value for all used vehicles traded in during the month of March hit an all-time high, climbing to $17,080, compared to $14,160 a year ago. Edmunds analysts say demand is soaring for used vehicles as chipset shortages continue to severely constrain the supply of new vehicles in the market: New vehicle inventory on sale at dealerships nationwide is down by 36% in March 2021 compared to a year ago. According to Edmunds data, trucks retain the greatest value and command the highest trade-in prices of all consumer vehicles in the market right now. Edmunds analysts took a look at all 2018 model year vehicles traded in during March and determined their respective retained values by comparing the average trade-in price of each model against its average original MSRP. Ford F-250 Super Duty, GMC
Sierra 2500 Heavy Duty and F-350 Super Duty all tied for the No. 1 spot on the list, retaining 80% of their value on average. “The chipset shortage is wreaking havoc on new vehicle production, but we’re also seeing surprisingly healthy car shopper demand, which has likely grown stronger in light of vaccines rolling out quicker than anticipated,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “These two factors combined are disrupting the market in a way we haven’t ever really seen before.” Edmunds analysts say that consumers who might have typically been new-car shoppers are increasingly turning to the used market in search of more alternatives and better value. Traffic to the Edmunds website’s used vehicle inventory pages jumped approximately 300% in March compared to a year ago. “It seems impossible, with the pandemic still raging in many parts of the country, that new vehicle sales could be at the highest March level in more than two decades, but here we are,” said Caldwell. “Until
automakers can start cranking out new vehicles again, we’re going to see increased demand and higher trade-in values for used vehicles as well.” Edmunds experts note a positive trend emerging as a result of rising trade-in values: Fewer consumers are upside down on their car loans, and those who are upside down owe less. According to Edmunds data, 30% of all vehicle trade-ins during March had negative equity, compared to 40% last March. The average amount owed by consumers who were upside down on their car loan was $4,583 in March, compared to $5,405 a year ago. “If you were upside down on your car loan a few months ago, there’s a decent chance that you could be in the black today,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ senior manager of insights. “Consumers who own a vehicle and are thinking of making a new car purchase in the near future should consider pulling the trigger now. The inventory situation isn’t going to get any better any time soon, and you could essentially
be wiping away multiple car payments with the added value of your trade-in.” To help car shoppers who are looking to take advantage of this seller’s market, Edmunds experts advise getting a vehicle appraisal, which can be done online or in person at your local dealership. Or you can get an instant cash offer for your vehicle from a site such as Edmunds. If you’re currently leasing a vehicle, you have options as well; Edmunds experts outline them here. “Many consumers believe the old adage that you lose half the value of your vehicle when you drive off the lot, but that is simply far from the truth today. In fact, we’re seeing many vehicles hold a huge amount of value multiple years into ownership,” said Drury. “Every car owner out there should take a minute to check how much they can get for their vehicle, no matter the age or mileage or condition that it’s in. You could have extra money sitting in your driveway and not even know it.” Source: Edmunds
UAW Suggests EV Tax Credit Should Only Apply to U.S.-Built Cars by Steven Loveday, Inside EVs
According to a report from Automotive News, in late April, the UAW suggested electric car tax incentives should only apply to cars assembled in the U.S. The existing tax credit of up to $7,500 has no requirement that the cars be made on our shores. The report quotes UAW Vice President Terry Dittes: “The UAW is working with the Biden administration and Congress to make sure that the final legislation extending electric vehicle subsidies is clear that those investments subsidize the jobs of U.S. workers.” This comes on the heels of an announcement from General Motors stating it has plans to invest $1 billion in Mexico to build EVs in the country starting in 2023. U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI, followed up with a statement that EVs “must be built in America” and money should not be spent to ship jobs to Mexico. While there was no official
response from The White House related to the UAW’s comments, President Joe Biden has already talked about the $174 billion plan to support U.S. EV production. “There’s no reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries,” Biden said. GM made the UAW aware it already has plans to spend $9 billion on domestic battery manufacturing facilities and job creation domestically. The UAW also recently went after Ford for its plans to build an EV plant in Mexico. According to Automotive News, Ford was planning to build EVs in Ohio, but changed course to assemble them in Mexico, where the Mustang Mach-E is being produced. This is a developing story. As more concrete details become available, Inside EVs will continue to publish related articles. We thank Inside EVs for reprint permission.
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autobodynews.com / JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 45
Sherwin-Williams’ Lee Rush Provides Insight on Quality Validation Needs by Chasidy Rae Sisk
On March 25, the Tennessee Collision Repairers Association (TCRA) hosted an evening of training, featuring Lee Rush from Sherwin-Williams, who explained “Why Ignoring Quality Control Will Cost You Profits and Sales.” Rush promised to deliver an informative presentation on quality control as well as a demonstration of a new QC product. TCRA President JMark Smith welcomed attendees from the Carolinas Collision Association (CCA) and the Mississippi Collision Repair Association (MSCRA), and noted, “QC is an important part of our business, and as a member of TCRA, quality repairs are something we place a lot of emphasis on because we want repairs done correctly.” Beginning by sharing some details about his background and experience, predominantly as part of an operations team, Rush offered insight into how to implement processes in multiple locations with multiple variations. “Over the years, in-process quality validation proved to be challenging,” Rush said. “The industry needs methods and procedures to evaluate quality throughout the process instead of figuring out what needs to be reworked once the repair is completed, or worse―having the consumer find the quality issues!” After chasing a better method for quality validation and verification for years, Rush joined Sherwin-Williams, where he works with shops on developing and improving the business model, allowing him to educate those shops on why ignoring QC and technology costs profits and sales. His goal for the presentation was to provide enough insight to begin to change the shops think about quality validation. “The first part of this is just changing how we think and beginning to move away from tradition into a new business model,” he said. “Technology is our friend when it comes to quality validation,” Rush continued. “The industry is finally catching up with regards to applications that improve our ability to bet-
ter manage, lifting the burden and allowing us to focus ON business instead of being crazy IN the business.” While the industry has long known there is a need to validate quality, the real challenge has always been determining how to do it. “We need to validate quality prior to the consumer validating it,” Rush stressed. “Over the years, we’ve tried many methods with limited―or no―success, but QC validation continues to be a universal challenge for
On March 25, the Tennessee Collision Repairers Association (TCRA) hosted an evening of training, focused on QC validation methods
the collision industry. This industry is a high variation business model, and all that complexity from vehicle to vehicle adds complexity. “Quality is a pain point on every production floor, plus it presents a huge liability risk that won’t be defendable with a pencil and paper checklist going forward.” Rush also addressed how quality issues cost every shop profits and sales, both in materials costs related to reworks as well as by preventing the shop from creating new revenue. “We’ve grown tolerant to this disruption in production, and we need to focus now on improving our labor utilization,” he said. Shops face increased liability and risk due to vehicle complexity and required repair methods related to ADAS, complex steels, aluminum, carbon fiber, electronic components and new bonding technologies. “These increase our liability and risk, which is getting steeper and steeper for collision operators every day,” Rush said. “Change is constant; make sure quality is constant, too.” The need for in-process QC validation is even greater due to insurer demands related to DRP service level agreements, including varying insurer needs, virtual claims, approval process, inconsistent appraisals,
46 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
customer handling process, parts usage and authorizations, and supplement authorizations. “The market hadn’t produced any real technology to help and assist shops as they verify quality with their techs. It’s contingent on us to remind people and ensure we remain compliant from program to program,” Rush said. “Now, there’s technology to assist us with this, and it can easily be managed through a phone application to ensure each claim is handled according to that carrier’s expectations and requirements.” QC validation is also a relevant component of customer satisfaction, and citing a study that showed 82% of consumers are less likely to use a business after seeing a negative review, Rush identified causes of those: missed delivery times, defects on delivered vehicles and poor internal communication. “Our current internal communication method is ‘stop and tell someone,’ but that’s disruptive because it negatively impacts labor utiliza-
tion,” Rush pointed out. “It’s a bad system, but we’re going to rectify that with technology and in-house quality validation.” Poor quality costs shops in reworks, increased cycle time, wasted production time, inefficient communication processes and recurring unaddressed issues with parts, equipment or skills. “It’s cumulative, so we’re all desensitized to it. But we have to take care of it. The reality is when we stop, reverse or rework, cumulatively, this replaces a lot of potential labor we could have produced and sales that could have followed,” Rush said. “If you calculate it, you’ll be shocked at the amount of profit, cost and sales impacts.” Traditionally, shops perform QC during a visual post-repair inspection, but the only items that can be seen post-repair are fit, function and finish. “Post-repair inspections don’t tell us about the unibody or frame, if the suspension measurements are within tolerance or if the structural
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components are welded correctly,” Rush noted. “There’s no validity with a paper checklist, and no method to recall or review the data. There are a lot of challenges with the traditional QC methodology, and the industry has a real need for a consistent QC validation method.” The average collision repair requires a 20-step process, according to Rush, as well as an average of 75 individual operations, 23.6 labor hours and 10 new parts replaced. “Vehicle damage repair is a highly variable practice; I believe the automotive industry has the highest degree of variability in any industry,” Rush said. “The average vehicle will go through five different practice repair phases, and eight to 10 individuals can be a part of each repair order. Given the massive amount of variation, a paper and pencil checklist does not meet the need of today’s repair cycle complexities; it demands a better solution.” Rush suggests a method that uses quality validation technology to ensure shops are verifying and validating quality as the vehicle cy-
cles through the repair process. He believes the industry needs a “digital tool, designed to be used with any tablet or handheld that doesn’t require special purchases. It should use imported repair order data, identify non-compliance using photo triggers and enhance communication, while also providing fully customizable, dynamic SOPs. “It must allow us to inspect quality in-process regardless of the vehicle, the insurer, the OE requirement and the number of handoffs, or why use the application?” Sherwin-Williams developed the Collision Core Quality application to meet these needs. “Conducting in-process quality validation gives shops the ability to verify the operation was completed and then validate whether it was done correctly by passing or failing it,” Rush said. “It includes an event log to demonstrate the QC validation and protect shops from liability by showing that we have a deliberate in-process QC system. These documents verify that we’re serious about our QC process, and they will stand up against scrutiny.”
The application also allows users to sort and distribute finished records, emailing them to anyone during or after the repair. It also removes blockages and allows for labor optimization by enhancing internal communication. “The minute I hit ‘fail,’ the app communicates to those who need to know,” Rush said. “The instant real-time communication is the most powerful aspect for me.” Shops can load as many customized SOPs as desired, and the app also allows technicians to pull down OEM repair methods directly from the manufacturer and save them to the repair order, demonstrating responsibility and due diligence with regard to liability and risk. The Quality Validation dashboard allows users to analyze where failures are occurring most frequently so they can evaluate whether processes need to be modified to reduce failures. “Today, we have nothing. We’re intuitive to a degree because we know a little, but we really don’t know what we don’t know. We want to have these records and reporting ability so we can review them, document them and improve our repair process based on that data,” Rush advised. “Highly technical vehicles require highly technical repairs. Quality validation must be an accessible, simple-to-use solution to address
a complex problem, plus it must provide high-level dynamic quality checks and produce a full digital reporting trail,” Rush said. “This app offers a mechanism to record and remove errors, improve quality and efficiency, and reduce repair liability while improving internal communications, which also reduces errors.” Rush proceeded to demonstrate how to use the app to conduct quality validation through the repair process, showing how photos can be added in-app and raving over the communication piece. He also showed different customizable features before answering attendees’ questions. Sherwin-Williams’ Collision Core Quality application is available to anyone in the collision repair industry; users do not need to be customers of Sherwin-Williams. “Traditionally, we don’t inspect quality until the repair is completed, but we really aren’t inspecting quality―we’re just repairing the vehicle, passing it to the next department, and hoping they find the issue if there is one,” Rush said in conclusion. “We’re checking boxes but not really inspecting quality while the repair is in-process. “We don’t inspect quality, and we have to change that behavior. The industry needs to create a new tradition of quality validation.” For more information about TCRA, visit MyTCRA.com.
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The ASE Education Foundation has partnered with several auto care industry companies and organizations to offer free e-learning and online training resources for its auto, truck and collision instructors and students. Several car manufacturers and auto parts suppliers have provided free access to training and online educational resources. In addition, some of the top training providers in the industry are offering access to online classes and resources. Most recently, CARQUEST
Technical Institute (CTI) and WORLDPAC Training Institute (WTI) made available unlimited access to their virtual classrooms so that career and technical instructors can share the information with their students, and ASE itself is providing free access to its Introduction to Automotive Service e-learning program to all students in ASE-accredited programs. Visit https://www.aseeducation foundation.org/elearning. Source: ASE
autobodynews.com / JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 47
Collision Repair Industry Veteran and Author Gary Ledoux Writes into the Sunset can get old quickly. “One of my uncles had a great If you’ve been in the collision repair career, but he didn’t know what to industry in any capacity within the do when he retired,” he said. “He last decade or so, you likely know ended up watching television 24/7 who Gary Ledoux is. and died at 78 without really enjoy He wrote for Autobody News ing his retirement. I decided that that for several years, is the author of wasn’t going to happen to me.” five different books, including one Ledoux took business and voabout the history of collision repair cational classes in high school, then in America, and played an integral spent some time at NH Voc-Tech role at American Honda when it de- College. He landed a series of jobs at veloped its ProFirst Body Shop Cer- various local parts jobbers, PBE jobtification program in 2010. bers and car dealerships. He worked Now semi-retired at age 68 and the parts departments at Toyota, Alfa living in Jacksonville, FL, Ledoux is Romeo, Subaru and Acura stores, as currently working on a book about well as selling new vehicles at one the history of his hometown fire Ford dealer and working as a service department, with a working title of advisor at another. “Nashua’s Bravest: The History of In 1973, Ledoux tried to become a firefighter in his hometown Firefighting in Nashua, NH.” of Nashua, but he didn’t meet the physical requirements. He was too short― even after “fudging my application a little,” he said. One year later, he relocated to Amherst, NH, where, being all-volunteer, the fire department’s physical requirements weren’t so critical. Ledoux was accepted and served as a volunteer firefighter for the next four Gary Ledoux, author of “YesterWreck: The History of the years. Collision Repair Industry in America,” is enjoying his retirement after working for Honda for three decades Like firefighters everywhere, volunteers can be In 2018, Ledoux published his called out at any time of the day or fifth book, “YesterWreck: The His- night. “Being a volunteer company, the tory of the Collision Repair Industry in America,” an 860-page book that fire station was not manned. When has been getting positive reviews the alarm sounded, you ran to the from people throughout the indus- station, grabbed a truck and went,” try. Four previous books centered on Ledoux said. “One time, there was Old West history. a house on fire right across the road Ledoux has embraced the ste- from the firehouse, less than 20 yards reotypical retirement plan, purchas- away. By the time a police officer on ing a 37-ft. Itasca motorhome that night patrol noticed it, notified the already has 25,000 miles on it. He’s fire department and we responded, driven from Palm Springs to north- the house was fully involved. We ern California, across the U.S. from managed to save the cellar hole. It California to Florida and from Key was rather embarrassing, but someWest to New Hampshire, and has times that’s just how it works.” In 1988, Ledoux landed a posibig plans to see more of the country firsthand within the next few years. tion at American Honda as a district Ledoux’s No. 1 goal in retire- parts aanager for the Acura diviment is to be active and pursue his sion, first for the northeastern U.S. creative passions, such as writing and later for the southeastern U.S. and travel. He has learned by exam- He worked for American Honda in ple that if you don’t proactively pur- varying capacities for more than 29 sue a productive retirement, things years. by Ed Attanasio
48 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
From 1998 to 2017, he was an assistant national manager for the wholesale parts marketing department, eventually concentrating on the collision repair industry. That’s when he met literally hundreds of body shop owners all over the country and developed a wide range of highly successful advertising/marketing promotions for Honda’s wholesale parts marketing department. In 2009, American Honda assembled a team to develop the company’s first OE body shop certification program. “There were about 12 of us and we did a complete year of research before we pulled the trigger on the program,” Ledoux said. “A lot of the OEs were featuring certification programs, so the clock was running. At first, it was called the Honda ProFirst Recognized Program, but we realized that we needed to have the word ‘certified’ in there, so, in time, we changed it to the Honda ProFirst Certified Body Shop Program. “It was great watching it grow and witnessing its success. When I retired from Honda in 2017, we had 1,200 shops in the program and now they have closer to 1,600. It works because shops value the certification and Honda owners respect it.” Why does the ProFirst Program―now called the Honda and Acura Certified Collision Program―work so well for shops that have invested heavily in specific tools, training and equipment to do proper repairs on Hondas and Acuras? “It benefits everybody and, in the end, it results in a quality, OE standard repair,” he said. “Back in the day, just having the right parts was enough but that doesn’t make it anymore, because today’s cars are so sophisticated and the technology is changing all the time.” Ledoux has been writing professionally since 1992, including five books, columns and feature articles in multiple Old West magazines, a running column in Motorcycle Industry and Power Equipment Trade magazines and a column and feature articles in Autobody News, and he was publisher and editor of the Honda ProFirst Quarterly Magazine.
A big part of Ledoux’s legacy includes his definitive history of the collision repair industry, “YesterWreck: The History of the Collision Repair Industry in America,” which he published in 2018. He saw a definite need for a book that chronicles the history of body shops, complete with a collection of 60 photographs used to tell the story. It was a labor of love that tested Ledoux, but he was proud of the finished product. “I found a ton of great stories and anecdotes from the early years of the industry, plus I spent countless hours poring over industry magazines going back as far as the early 1960s,” he said. “Historians take a lot of information and put it into a narrative that is accurate and entertaining, so that was my goal with ‘YesterWreck.’” In “Nashua’s Bravest: The History of Firefighting in Nashua, NH,” Ledoux is now writing about another one of his passions―fire departments and their colorful histories. “When I started asking around about the history of the Nashua Fire Department, I discovered that several people had documents that were partially written while others just had notes they collected over the years. But nobody knew how to turn it into a book,” Ledoux said. “I thought, I can take all of it and put it into a book that people would love to read, with the addition of my own research.” The book is slated to be published the first quarter of 2022. Just like in John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley,” Ledoux and his wife Rachel and their dogs, Snoop, Bridget, Bailey and Mindy, will be taking to the highways and byways of America. With his trusty laptop onboard, Ledoux and his family are poised and prepared to take on this new stage in their lives. As Gary would say, “Happy trails!”
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autobodynews.com / JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 49
Fossil Fuel Emergency: U.S. Races to Move Gasoline After a Pipeline Hack by Brad Bergan, Interesting Engineering
In an effort to delay the effects of a gasoline shortage and subsequent price spike on the East Coast, the Biden Administration just issued an order to enable overtime for some truck drivers moving gasoline, according to a May 9 declaration from the Department of Transportation. This comes in response to the shutdown of one of the country’s most critical fossil fuel pipelines following one of the largest cyberattacks on gas and oil infrastructure in American history. Fossil fuel shortage could affect the East Coast On May 7, Colonial Pipeline said it suffered a critical ransomware attack—forcing it to halt all operations while it worked to secure its IT architecture from hackers. Some of the company’s smaller pipelines have resumed service, but as of May 10, the pipeline’s main pathways were still shut down for an unspecified timeframe. “On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the
victim of a cybersecurity attack. We have since determined that this incident involves ransomware,” read the statement from the fossil fuel company. “In response, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems.” The Department of Transportation (DOT) subsequently declared a state of emergency, following the shutdown, and waived requirements for drivers and motor carriers working to circumvent potential shortages from the pipeline shutdown. This means they can drive for more than 11 hours, the typical daily limit, in a collective effort to delay the potential fuel shortages that can happen, since Colonial’s pipeline network fuels roughly 45% of all gasoline on the East Coast. The DOT said the Colonial pipeline shutdown may create shortages of “gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products,” with overtime waivers effective in the following territories:
Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Noth Carolina, New York, Mississippi, Maryland, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Arkansas and Alabama.
gas. This is a big deal.” Especially since road and rail transport are far more expensive than pipelines—and there’s another caveat to extending road and rail-based supply lines for fossil fuel. Colonial’s pipeline is integral to the energy infrastructure of the U.S., stretching more than 5,000 miles and moving more than 2.5 million gallons of gasoline daily from refineries throughout the Gulf Coast to more than 50 million people on or near the East Coast. Several tanker trucks racing gasoline down a highThe shutdown comes while way under the sun. Credit: Rasica/iStock many are just starting to resume their normal transits to The East Coast could see pump work. If the pipeline doesn’t go online in the next several days, anprices spike in the coming week “This is the largest impact on the alysts have said fuel prices might energy system in the United States rise along the Eastern Seaboard, we’ve seen from a cyberattack, full with scattered shortages. stop,” said CEO Rob Lee of Dra- This was a breaking story and gos, an infrastructure-focused se- was regularly updated as new incurity firm, in a report from Wired. formation became available. “You have a real ability to impact the electric system in a broad way We thank Interesting Engineering by cutting the supply of natural for reprint permission.
Continued from Page 32
Chip Shortage Forces U.S. Automakers to Shift Focus to High-Profit Vehicles by Sam D. Smith, CarScoops
It would appear that during a tumultuous period for car production, U.S. automakers may begin to focus on lower volume, premium-priced cars over cheaper alternatives. A report by Reuters details an investor call from GM CEO Mary Barra, who stated the company can deliver better results without stockpiling vehicles or padding sales volumes with low-priced, low-margin models. U.S. automakers have often opted to keep up production of higher-volume, lower-margin cars, appealing to a broad cross-section of buyers. As Jalopnik points out, the concept of Alfred Sloan, GM’s president and chairman in the 1920s until the late 1950s, was “a car for every purse and purpose.” But after a challenging period during the pandemic and the difficulty faced in sourcing semiconductors for production, by prioritizing sales of higher-margin cars, GM has been able to post solid profits for the first quarter.
“We’ll never go back to that level of inventories that we held pre-pandemic because we’ve learned we can be much more efficient,” said Barra. Similar statements have been made by other automakers as well, including Stellantis and Ford.
During the chip shortage, General Motors has shifted supply and supported the production of higher-margin cars while temporarily halting production of high-volume but less expensive models. The General recently announced it would idle production of its second-best selling U.S. model, the Chevrolet Equinox. They have also
50 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
curtailed the output of the Cadillac XT4 and Chevy Malibu. Attaining greater profitability by way of reducing stockpiling, shunning volume sellers and focusing on models with fatter margins isn’t a new concept to Detroit’s Big Three. However, it wasn’t widely implemented due to pressure to keep factories open and chase sales numbers. But thanks to external pressure from the lack of supply, automakers have been forced to go down this route. The boost in profitability and share value will, no doubt, be hard to unsee. It’s not all good news for GM, though. Barra went on to say the semiconductor situation is likely to worsen before it gets better, and both Ford and Stellantis predicted supply delays will likely continue into 2022. GM also forecasts the chip shortage is likely to see $1.5 billion to $2 billion lost from this year’s profit. We thank CarScoops for reprint permission.
Skeptical World municate instantly via text or email. If they want photos of the repair, it’s a snap, and they are kept in the loop during every stage of the process. By writing estimates that are fast, easy and, most importantly, accurate, there are never surprises along the way. By bringing more to the table with new technology and cutting-edge techniques, vehicle repairers are building trusting relationships with their customers. By continually pursuing cutting-edge tools, these forward-thinkers will continue to excel in a market that’s already more knowledgeable, skeptical and more discerning than ever. You can tell people great things about your business all day long, but folks want to see it, and the five truisms described by Stuef will always speak louder than words. The underlying message is if you run a good shop that produces quality work, trust is the byproduct and good things will happen as a result.
Ford Releases New Position Statement on Bumper Fascias Ford and Lincoln vehicles contain many state-of-the-art features that provide occupant safety and enhance the driving experience. Bumper fascias play an integral role in the performance and functionality of these features. The original bumper fascias on Ford Motor Company vehicles are designed and manufactured to function with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including Pre-Collision Assist with AEB, BLIS® with Cross-Traffic Alert, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise, Lane-Keeping System, Active Park Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, BLIS® with Trailer Coverage and Pro Trailer Backup Assist. During body repairs that involve front and rear bumper fascias, it is critical the vehicle be restored to proper operating condition to ensure these important safety systems function correctly. Repair of bumper fascias using fillers, reinforcement tape, hot staples or plastic welding can adversely affect ADAS operation. For this reason, Ford Motor Company is limiting repairs on front and rear bumper fascias on all Ford Motor Company vehicles equipped with any ADAS features to topcoat refinish
only. Topcoat finish cannot exceed 12 mils (300 microns) in total thickness. Any bumper fascia damage that requires substrate repairs must be replaced. Measurement of the topcoat finish requires the use of an ultrasonic paint thickness gauge, such as PosiTector 200 or Phase II UTG-2900, available through Rotunda. The following points provide an overview of bumper fascia repairs: • Paint repairs can be made if the material thickness does not exceed 12 mils (300 microns) in total thickness • Use of any filler materials or reinforcement tapes to repair substrate damage is not permitted • Use of hot staples or plastic welding to repair cracks or damage is not permitted • Repair of any sonic-welded sensor retainer rings or tabs is not allowed, due to possible misalignment and incorrect operation of the sensor • Note that vehicle wraps, bumper stickers and aftermarket accessories in the area of the fascia can create system operation concerns Reconditioned, refurbished or salvage bumper fascias may have
been repaired using substrate repairs, including the use of filler material, plastic welding and hot staples, which can interfere with ADAS operation. For this reason, Ford Motor Company does not approve the use of reconditioned, refurbished or salvage bumper fascias. Only by using Ford Original Equipment bumper fascias can you be assured of the fit, function and safety of the repair. Ford recommends the use of the Integrated Diagnostic System (IDS) or Ford Diagnosis and Repair System (FDRS) to perform all vehicle diagnostic testing, and when performing module programing and system calibrations during collision repairs. Additionally, Ford factory diagnostic and repair procedures should be used when carrying out all collision repairs. Ford dealer-owned body shops can access service information, training and diagnostic scan tool support through the Professional Technician Society at http://www.fordtechservice.dealerconnection.com and independent collision repairers can find information at www.motorcraftservice.com. Source: Ford
Mobile 3D Hail Damage System Here Chief Collision Technology has the collision industry covered this hail season with the introduction of the industry’s first mobile 3D hail damage scanning system. The Constellation, a complete workflow system, tracks hail-damaged vehicles throughout the entire process from first notice of loss, through the claims process and finally to vehicle repair. The system is now available and gives insurance providers, collision shops and fleet managers a complete hail management repair solution. After a major hail event, the mobile system is deployed and can be set up quickly at any location within 24 to 48 hours, and can accommodate everything from small passenger vehicles and SUVs to pickup trucks. Learn more at https://chieftechnology.com/constellation/ Source: Chief Collision Technology
SBA Announces PPP General Funds Exhausted
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The U.S. Small Business Administration on May 4 informed trade associations the PPP general fund has been exhausted and is closed to new applications. In connection with this news, trade assocations can no longer submit new applications to the SBA. The SBA has reserved approximately $6 billion for loans that have been submitted, but not approved due to hold code issues. If your application’s status in the portal is “Submitted to SBA,” lenders will continue working to clear the hold code and obtain SBA approval. Borrowers whose applications have an SBA hold code can check their status in the portal by following this guide and can log into their account via The Loan Source website. Unfortunately, the ~$6 billion reserve does not provide
relief for borrowers experiencing error codes issued by SBA at submission. If your application’s status in the portal is “Underwriter Reviewed” or prior, trade associations are not able to submit your application to SBA for approval. If your loan has an error code or otherwise has not yet been submitted to SBA, you are encouraged to apply through a CFI, which have $8.6 billion reserved in funding for new loans. A list of lenders is available via the SBA website. Please note, if your application’s status in the portal is “SBA Approved,” “Loan Note Sent for E-sign,” “Signed Loan Note Received” or “Funded,” your loan was approved by SBA prior to the exhausting of funds and will continue processing. Source: Loansource
autobodynews.com / JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 51
Biden’s Emissions Pledge Comes with Economic Consequences, Experts Warn by Casey Harper, The Center Square
President Joe Biden is expected to announce a pledge April 22 to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half within less than a decade. Biden will announce the aggressive pledge, according to multiple reports, the same day the White House hosts dozens of world leaders for a virtual climate summit. The pledge would commit the U.S. to lower its emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by the year 2030. But critics were quick to point out flaws with the plan. “Based on currently available technology, there is no way to halve America’s emissions in such a short period of time without radically impacting our battered economy,” said Heather Reams, executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. “We know that by 2030, 90% of all new emissions will come from the developing world and China, so we need solutions that can be adopted as readily in India as in Indiana.” During the summit, which also falls on Earth Day, leaders will discuss a range of environmental and energy issues like coal power plants and carbon emissions. Though Biden has not made the formal announcement, his rhetoric on the campaign trail indicated he plans to take an aggressive stance on environmental issues. “As president, Biden will lead the world to address the climate emergency and lead through the power of example, by ensuring the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy
economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050,” Biden’s climate plan released during the presidential campaign says. “He will lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets,” the plan adds. Biden’s pledge could devastate parts of the country reliant on fossil fuels for their livelihood. Wyoming and West Virginia have the most sig-
President Joe Biden. Credit: Shutterstock.
nificant coal producing capabilities, followed by Pennsylvania, Illinois and Kentucky. Those states produced about 500 million short tons of coal in 2019, more than 70% of the nation’s coal output. A short ton is equal to 2,000 pounds. “Last year during the COVID pandemic, the U.S. cut its emissions by 12% and we all know at what cost,” said Daniel Turner, founder of the energy workers advocacy group Power the Future. “Thousands of small businesses have been closed forever. Unemployment skyrocketed. Entire industries like airlines, hospitality, tourism, have been bankrupted.” Turner’s comments indicate the kind of opposition that Biden, and Democrats who support him, are likely to get from Republicans. Other critics say Americans can
expect widespread blackouts, higher energy prices and economic downturn if Biden’s plan is enacted. “The Biden-Harris administration’s reported second-round commitment under the unratified Paris climate treaty is preposterous and irresponsible,” said Myron Ebell, director of the Center on Energy & Environment for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 would cause energy prices to skyrocket, make blackouts a common occurrence and lead to widespread energy poverty. Luckily, the Biden-Harris commitment is merely an expression of intention and with no legal basis.” Reports indicate the traditional fossil fuel industry supports a little less than 7 million U.S. jobs. Those jobs are often concentrated in certain pockets of the country, meaning a reduction in the fossil fuel industry could send entire cities and even regions into economic recession. “[Biden] will make sure those commitments are transparent and enforceable, and stop countries from cheating by using America’s economic leverage and power of example,” Biden’s campaign pledge reads. “He will fully integrate climate change into our foreign policy and national security strategies, as well as our approach to trade.” Those international relationships, though, are exactly what concerns many experts, who say China will use America’s restraint as an opportunity to gain an economic advantage. “We will forgo our American, domestic, reliable, inexpensive, abun-
dant energy to buy inferior Chinese products which are expensive and inefficient,” Turner said. “Meanwhile China continues to expand, build, grow it’s economy primarily through coal-fired plants and by expanding its production of oil and gas worldwide. China and Russia are thrilled that the American president is willing to punish his own country to achieve a globalist standard which they holistically ignore.” Making public pledges to world leaders will grab headlines and earn favor with the Democratic base, but critics say it will do little to change the reality on the ground without help from Capitol Hill. Biden will need Congressional support to enact the widespread changes needed to make his ambitious promises come to fruition. “We must count on widespread public opposition to convince enough Democrats in Congress to join with Republicans to defeat implementation of this grotesque power grab to cripple the American economy,” Ebell added. Biden does have allies among Democrats who are eager to get a win for the party’s base. Democrats on April 20 re-introduced the Green New Deal ahead of Biden’s summit, pushing for a total reworking of the nation’s spending as well as the energy industry. “Do we intend on sending a message to the Biden administration that we need to go bigger and bolder?” asked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY. “The answer is absolutely yes.” We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.
FTC Examines Anti-Competitive Repair Restrictions, Recommends Ways to Expand Consumers’ Options In a new report to Congress, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identified numerous types of repair restrictions, such as using adhesives that make parts difficult to replace, limiting the availability of spare parts and making diagnostic software unavailable. The report’s findings, including that “there is scant evidence to support manufacturers’ justifications for repair restrictions,” are primarily based on responses to the FTC’s requests for public comments and empirical re-
search issued in connection with its July 2019 workshop, “Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions.” The report explores means of expanding consumers’ repair options and how the FTC could assist in that expansion, consistent with its statutory authority. In addition, the FTC notes it stands ready to work with lawmakers, either at the state or federal level, to ensure consumers have choices when they need to repair products that they purchase and own. Congress directed the FTC to
52 JUNE 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
issue the report, noting it “is aware of the FTC’s ongoing review of how manufacturers—in particular mobile phone and car manufacturers—may limit repairs by consumers and repair shops, and how those limitations may increase costs, limit choice and impact consumers’ rights under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.” Congress specifically directed the FTC to include recommendations on how to best address these problems. The FTC voted 4-0 to authorize staff to send the report to Congress.
The FTC works to promote competition and to protect and educate consumers. Learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud and bad business practices online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Like the FTC on Facebook(link is external), follow on Twitter(link is external), get consumer alerts, read blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. Source: FTC
Volkswagen Group Reports Strong Results in Q1 2021 by Mark Kane, Inside EVs
The Volkswagen Group, which includes Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, SEAT and more, reported quite strong business results in the first quarter of 2021. Let’s first take a look at general numbers and then focus on the plug-in electric car sales.
especially considering the semiconductor shortages. “We started the year with great momentum and are on a strong operational course,” said Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group. “This is clearly reflected in our positive quarterly figures. At the same time, we remain fully committed to our transformation
“Our successful e-offensive continues to gain momentum and we have significantly expanded it with attractive new models” — Herbert Diess, The group has increased its vehicle deliveries by 21.2% yearover-year to 2.4 million, compared to 2.0 million in Q1 2020. That’s 12.4% of global car sales. That allowed it to increase the revenues to $62.4 billion, up 13.2% year-over-year, but more importantly, the operating profits improved to $4.8 billion, which is 7.7% gross margin. The income after tax will be $3.4 billion—5.4% of revenues. It’s not a bad start to the year,
into a climate-neutral and software-driven mobility group. “Our successful e-offensive continues to gain momentum and we have significantly expanded it with attractive new models. We are also making good progress with the key topic of digitalization and have reached important milestones. There is still much more we can achieve in the remainder of the year.” The Volkswagen Group out-
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lined four major areas of business: hardware, software, battery and charging as well as mobility and services. The software business is in its early investment phase, but over time it is expected to generate some income through licenses. Volkswagen Group plug-in car sales In Q1 2021, the Volkswagen Group delivered some 133,000 plug-in electric vehicles globally: • BEVs: about 59,948 (up 78.4% year-over-year) and 2.5% of the total volume • PHEVs: about 73,374 (up 178% year-over-year) and 3.05% of the total volume • Total: about 133,322 (up 122% year-over-year) and 5.56% of the total volume For comparison, in 2020 the group sold over 422,000 plug-ins. All-electric car sales by market: Europe: 42,421 (71%)
North America: 7,588 (13%) China: 6,244 (10%) Others: 3,695 (6%) Total: 59,948 All-electric car sales by brand: Volkswagen (cars): 30,735 (51%) Audi: 14,583 (24%) Porsche: 9,072 (15%) Skoda: 2,455 (4%) SEAT: 2,217 (4%) Volkswagen (commercial vehicles): 687 (1%) Other: 199 (near 0%) Total: 59,948 The top selling plug-in models were: BEVs: Volkswagen e-up!, Volkswagen ID.3 and Volkswagen ID.4, Audi e-tron, Audi e-tron Sportback and Porsche Taycan PHEVs: Volkswagen Golf hatchback, Volkswagen Passat Estate, Audi A3 Sport-back and Audi Q5, Skoda Octavia Combi, SEAT Leon Sportstourer and Porsche Cayenne We thank Inside EVs for reprint permission.
Tesla Says All Supercharger Energy Will Be Renewable in 2021 by Steven Loveday, Inside EVs
Reportedly, on Earth Day, April 22, Tesla announced it has plans to power all Superchargers with renewable energy by the end of 2021. This would work to significantly reduce costs over the long term and make driving a Tesla even better for the environment. Tesla’s Supercharger network is arguably one of its top advantages over other brands producing electric cars. While most other automakers count on third-party public charging options, Tesla is constantly improving and expanding its fast and reliable Supercharger network. Keep in mind, Tesla also has its own solar business, so this plan won’t really be something new for the automaker. Even if competing brands decided to roll out a massive network of public fast-chargers over a short period of time, there’s a pretty solid chance they’re not planning to make them all run on solar energy. And, if they did, they may have to go to a company like Tesla for
help. Apple recently announced it’s using Tesla’s battery storage systems at its California solar farm. The report about the Superchargers running on renewable energy was published by Electrek. As the story goes, Justin Lange, Tesla’s marketing chief for mid-Atlantic Superchargers, posted some interesting information about Tesla’s Supercharger network and its progress. The post surfaced on Earth Day and include the following sentence: “Additionally, all our Supercharger energy will be 100% renewable in 2021.” Lange also highlighted Tesla’s Supercharger milestones, including delivering 2.4 TWh of energy, enabling 8.3 billion emission-free miles, saving 334 million gallons of gas and offseting 6.6 billion pounds of CO2. This seems like a very lofty goal. Can Tesla do it? Do you believe this will apply to all areas across the globe, or just to those for which Lange is responsible? We thank Inside EVs for reprint permission.
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Toyota Acquires Lyft’s Self-Driving Unit for More Than Half a Billion Dollars by Joey Klender, Teslarati
Toyota Motor Corporation will acquire Lyft’s self-driving unit, an announcement confirmed April 26. The cost of the deal is $550 million, and Toyota’s new Woven Planet division will handle the Japanese company’s automation ambitions. Lyft will receive $200 million in cash from Toyota up front, and the remaining $350 million of the deal will be paid over the next five years. “The transaction is also expected to remove $100 million of annualized non-GAAP operating expenses on a net basis—primarily from reduced R&D spend—which will accelerate Lyft’s path to Adjusted EBITDA profitability,” Lyft said in a press release. Toyota will not only acquire the self-driving unit, but the deal will also provide the automaker with Lyft’s 300 employees. “Not only will this transaction allow Lyft to focus on advancing our leading Autonomous platform and transportation network, this
partnership will help pull in our profitability timeline,” said John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. “Assuming the transaction
closes within the expected timeframe and the COVID recovery continues, we are confident that we can achieve Adjusted EBITDA profitability in the third quarter of this year.” Woven Planet Chief Executive James Kuffner told reporters April 27, “This is the first step of establishing and bringing together the people. Obviously, building technology and product requires people, and that’s much what this acquisition is about.” Kuffner is likely referencing the presence in Silicon Valley and London that Woven Planet will now have because of the acquisition. The partnership and could alleviate the issues that come with
the acquisition of a new company. Lyft’s advantages in the acquisition allow it to take a profit away from the development of self-driving technologies. Lyft hasn’t released its self-driving tech, which is aimed toward complete automation, known as Level 5 autonomy, but
it can give the rest of the tasks to Toyota while walking away with a hefty profit. Meanwhile, Toyota gains more experience and expertise in the self-driving sector through the acquisition. Toyota has Level 2 automation with advanced driver assistance tech. Level 2 describes “Partial Driving Automation” through Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.
“The vehicle can perform steering and acceleration. The human still monitors all tasks and can take control at any time,” according to Synopsys‘ breakdown of automation levels. Kuffner said Woven Planet will continue investing and growing its team but did not give any further details about acquisition plans or a timeline that would describe possible moves in the future. According to Reuters‘ coverage of the acquisition, Toyota will “likely make more deals, even if they do not ultimately lead to self-driving vehicles to ‘actively gather software and people who have knowledge.’” This is according to Seiji Sugiura, a senior analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2021 and will be subjected to required regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.
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Now is the Perfect Time to Sell or Trade Your Car: Kelley Blue Book If you have been considering selling or trading in your car anytime soon, now is the time to get serious. With low vehicle inventory on dealership lots, increased car-shopper demand and resulting high prices, the market conditions are prime for peak consumer profit for people selling their vehicle, according to Kelley Blue Book. Used-car prices are up 18% yearover-year, meaning a used car sitting in someone’s garage right now is currently worth on average nearly onefifth more than it was last year. Given the high-ticket prices of vehicles, that percentage can translate into quite a bit more cash lining a seller’s pockets. To view it another way, vehicles that were retaining 55% of their value a few months ago are fetching 60% to 65% of it now. The biggest factor contributing to the current market conditions is limited supply of used cars. According to data from vAuto, there are approximately 2.34 million used cars available in America today. That’s more than 530,000 fewer than just one year ago in 2020, and about 430,000 less than during the same period in a
more normal 2019. These circumstances point to a huge opportunity for people thinking about selling or trading in their current vehicle. “There has never been a much better time to sell or trade in your car than right now during this strong seller’s market,” said Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor for Kelley Blue Book. “Dealerships are seeking more used-car inventory, and prices are reaching sky high. If you’re in a position to sell, it’s a great time to command top dollar for your old car. And if you’re trading in your vehicle to purchase a new one, the increased value of your used car will help take some of the sting out of the higher price you’re likely to pay when purchasing a car in these market conditions.” Consumers who want to buy a car right now are facing some tough times. Prices are high, supply is low and the forces that could change these conditions are caught up in a perfect storm of complex factors. A worldwide microchip shortage has severely limited new-car production, and the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered many people to look
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for an inexpensive car rather than use public transit for their daily commute. Dealerships have fewer used vehicles to offer right now, but people are still buying cars and the demand is growing. Increased vaccinations are leading to the world slowly reopening, and when combined with boosted disposable income from government stimulus programs designed to kickstart the economy, people are shopping for cars again in droves. “America may be slowly returning to some semblance of normal, but the car market isn’t,” said DeLorenzo. “This means that people’s prior car-shopping experiences will not be able to tell them exactly how to handle this market. If consumers are even able to find the vehicle they want right now, they need to be prepared and understand they’re likely going to pay more for it than they probably thought they would. “With demand high and supply low, manufacturers aren’t offering as many discounts as people are accustomed to seeing; without available incentives, dealerships aren’t able to negotiate as much. And we don’t expect this to change much anytime
soon—it’s going to be a lean market for quite some time.” Understanding what your car is worth when selling or trading in, and what you should expect to pay when you’re buying a new or used car, can ensure you get the most for your money in either situation. Before selling or trading in a used car, consumers should research the trusted Blue Book Value® of their vehicle. Prior to purchasing any new or used vehicle, experts recommend that car shoppers check out the Fair Purchase Price range for that specific model on KBB.com. Based on thousands of data points and updated weekly to factor in changing market conditions, Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price helps people understand what they should realistically expect to pay for that particular vehicle in their local area. For more information about the timing of buying, selling and trading in cars given the current related market conditions, visit https://www.kbb. com/car-advice/is-now-the-time-tobuy-sell-or-trade-in-a-used-car/ Source: Kelley Blue Book
Why Tesla Hasn’t Been Affected by the Global Chip Shortage by Andrei Nedelea, Inside EVs
The pandemic has had an effect on the microchip industry, and this has hindered the production of everything that requires them. It also drove up demand for some electronics, which further deepened the problem. Industries affected by the shortage included the automotive sector, but Tesla recently announced how it found a workaround that should allow it to be unaffected by the insufficient chip situation. Tesla was previously affected, and during the most recent earnings call, CEO Elon Musk compared the situation to wartime shortages. However, the manufacturer found a way around the problem by opting to use microcontrollers instead, and redesigning the software to be compatible with different chips from other supplies. “In Q1, we were able to navigate through global chip supply shortage issues in part by pivoting extremely quickly to new microcontrollers, while simultaneously
developing firmware for new chips made by new suppliers,” Tesla said. This has to be some kind of achievement: to design a new chip, find a new company to make it and modify the firmware in order to make everything compatible—all of this was done on the fly, without really stopping vehicle production. We’re pretty sure legacy automakers would not be very inclined to do something like this, even though this move allowed Tesla to bypass the shortage that affected pretty much every other major carmaker, causing delays. Tesla has proven yet again that it does not have to do things exactly like the traditional automakers that are often hindered by their size and inability to apply changes quickly. If the chip shortage persists, and there’s a good chance that it will affect the industry through 2021, this kind of mentality will keep giving Tesla an edge over OEMs. We thank Inside EVs for reprint permission.
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