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2 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com


Indexof Advertisers

A Brief History of Collision Repair Association of CA. 1 Amaradio - What Do We Do Now?. . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Amid Safety Concerns, Hybrid Autos May Be Made Noisier. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 ASA Announces Dates, Location for 2011 . . . . . . 26 Chief Equipment and 21st Century Collision. . . . . 53 Attanasio - Pacific Collision Centers Says Relationship with PPG a “Wise Move” . . . . . . . 21 Auto Body Guru Helps Body Shops Online. . . . . . 48 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 Gets $900 Tax Credit . . . . . 55 BMW May Invest $1 Billion in Mexican Auto Parts 45 Boyd Group to Acquire True2Form Collision Centers 55 Brown - Specialty Paint & Body Repair . . . . . . . . 20 CAA Collision Industry Guide - Part 1 Continued . 50 CAA Collision Industry Guide - Part 2 . . . . . . . . . 53 CA Assembly Allows Crash Parts Bill to Expire . . . 1 California Ends Hybrids’ HOV Status for Singles . . 7 Collision Centers Get More “Green” From Enterprise Rent-A-Car . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Driver Error as Main Cause for UnintendedAcceleration in Toyotas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Evans - Building a Pinewood Derby Race Car . . . 57 Feds Investigating Mazda3, BMW Z4 for Steering Problems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 First 4,400 Volt Owners Eligible for Free Charging Stations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Ford Fiesta Shipments Delayed Thanks to Hurricane Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Ford Improves SYNC, Drivers Get Alternatives to Hand-Held Texting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Ford Introduces Curve Control Technology Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Editorial Assistant: Erica Schroeder Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, Dick Strom, John Yoswick, Lee Amaradio, Rich Evans, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Mike Causey, Tom McGee, Ed Attanasio Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Christina Shubert (800) 699-8251 Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Serving California, Nevada and Arizona, Autobody News

AAPEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 AEGIS Tools Intl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Alldata Collision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . .51 Auto Body Guru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 Autoland Scientech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Automotive Equipment Solutions . . . . .22 Automotive ID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 BMW of Riverside . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . .41 British Motor Car Distributors . . . . . . . .36 Buerge Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge . . . . . . . .11 Chassis Liner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Completes Plus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Crevier BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Downtown Motors of LA (Audi, VW, Porsche) . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 DuPont . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Enterprise Rent-A-Car . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers AZ, CA, & NV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Galpin Motors . . . . . . . . . . .24, 30-31, 35 Garmat USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Glenn E. Thomas Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge 6 GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . .26 Honda/Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers 54 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . .44

Crash Parts Bills

to Assist Drivers on Curves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Ford Pioneers Use of Eco-Friendly Soy Oil in Rubber Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Ford Recalls Certain Model Year Transit Connect Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Ford to End Mercury Production in the 4th Quarter. 51 Franklin - Using Fraud And Fear As Marketing Tools 18 Geely Wins EU Antitrust Aapproval to Buy Volvo Cars 55 GM Said to Decide Against Credit Unit, May Team Up With Banks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Govt Panel Reviewing Vehicle Acceleration in Recalled Toyotas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 I-CAR’s New Collision Repair for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Industry Pioneer Earl Scheib, Inc. Folds . . . . . . . . 19 Jay Leno ‘Not a Green Car Guy’, GM’s Volt Battery . 1 McGee, Webster - Corvette Re-Initialization Procedures 33 Nationwide Study Shows Dangers of Driving While Distracted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 NCOIL Takes No Final Action on Model Parts Bill . 52 Nevada Gets New Insurance Commissioner, Brett J. Barratt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 PPG Launches MVP Sales & Marketing Workshop. 52 PSA and Mitsubishi Join Forces for Electric Powertrain Co-op Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recession-Impacted Arizona Shops Realign . . . . . 9 Rome Technologies Releases Next Generation of CompleteShop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Sacramento Considers Tax for Out-of-Town Motorists in Collisions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Schroeder - ECO-Friendly Auto Center in Oakland is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2010 Adamantine Media LLC. Autobody News P.O. Box 1400, Oceanside, CA 92051-1400 (800) 699-8251 (760) 721-0253 Fax www.autobodynews.com Email: news@autobodynews.com

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Contents

Continued from Page 1

Kearny Pearson Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . .34 LKQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Matrix System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . .50 Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts Dealers . . .53 MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . .25 NACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers . . .52 Pacific BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Performance Radiator . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Perry Mazda-Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Power Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge . . . . . . . . .15 PPG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Pro-Spray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 RBL Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Replica Plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 SCA Appraisal Company . . . . . . . . . . .38 SEMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Sherwin-Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Sierra Chevrolet-Honda-Mazda-Subaru 16 Spray Net Spray Booths . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . .27 Timmons VW-Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 VIM Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . .55 Volvo Crash Wholesale Dealers . . . . . .56 Weatherford BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45

Park, FL, Offers Customers the Ultimate in Environmentally Friendly Mechanical Services . 28 Schroeder, Matrix - Matrix System Automotive Finishes Adds Low VOC and Waterborne . . . . . 38 SCRS Announces Newest Corporate Member: VW . 28 Seidner's Collision Centers Acquires Twelfth Location 14 Senate Candidate Fiorina (R) Speaks at Sacramento Shop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Suzuki Recalls 2010 Kizashi Sedan . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Toshiba Develops Rechargeable Battery for Electric Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Toyota Adding More Time to New Vehicle Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Toyota and Tesla to Build Electric RAV4 for 2012 . 22 Toyota Recalls Lexus HS 250h Hybrid . . . . . . . . . 27 Toyota Received Complaints About Lexus Defect in ‘07 44 Toyota to Fix Over 735,000 Cars Outside of Recall. 45 Toyota’s Chief Test Driver Dies In German Auto Crash 7 TRW's Collision Mitigation Braking . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Vehicle Mix is Dramatically Changing Aftermarket, Strong June Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 VIN Scanner ID’s Stolen U.S. Vehicle on First Day of Test in Mexico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Weaver - Answering the Bell (‘I don’t got a gun’) and Remembering Old Sarge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Williams - Parts for Profit 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Yoswick - Voices of IBIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Some Repairers Oppose “Right to Repair” Legislation... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 ... Others Support R2R, Including Right to Repair Coalition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

but opposed both by CAA and CRA (see other cover story). Amendments requested by CRA and the New Car Dealers’ Association (as in the current bill) were not acceptable to the Assembly committee, and therefore it was allowed to expire. The bill may return next session. Senate Bill 427, introduced by Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, would require repairers to provide, on a signature page of the final invoice, a statement that installing parts other than those described on the estimate without prior approval from the customer is unlawful. "There is language in the bill that alludes to parts switching, and it is just repetitive language," said David McClune, executive director of the CAA. SB472 would also change language in the current law from "supplied" to "installed," which the CRA believes will cause problems with charging for items like tape and sand paper, which are considered parts for the purposes of the estimate and invoice. SB 427 will be heard by the appropriations committee in August or September, and could be brought up for a floor vote upon approval.

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www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 3


Continued from Front Page

CRA History

being addressed,” says Allen Wood, executive director for CRA. Owner of a consulting business, he was formerly a program manager for the California Bureau of Automotive Repair. Based in Sacramento, the CRA represents member issues with the Department of Insurance, Bureau of Automotive Repair, the California Attorney General and other groups. The group has worked on issues such as steering, labor rates, aftermarket parts usage and capping and has testified before the State Senate Banking and Finance Committee regarding steering, capping and labor rate surveys. CRA was also instrumental in defeating the original aftermarket parts bill about two years ago, which the group felt would allow inferior parts to be used in collision repair. Recently, CRA participated in a press conference with Assemblyman David Jones (D-Sacramento), a candidate for California insurance commissioner, to publicize its safety concerns with the use of aftermarket bumper reinforcements. In addition, the group met with David Jones Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), author of the state’s original antisteering law, to demonstrate the differences in aftermarket reinforcements as compared to OEM parts. Rather than form chapters, the CRA encouraged its members to communicate directly with the board, says Amaradio, who began his now 30,000-square-foot shop in 1979 on “a giant step of faith.” He notes: “This allowed membership dues to go directly to address issues.” Today, the membership varies from 100 to 125. Amaradio notes that CRA offers its members insurance and operational programs, provides training on regulatory issues and how to deal with the California Department of Insurance and BAR, holds conferences for members and posts labor rate surveys and other industry-related information on its Web site, www.craca.com. The CRA has recently opposed SB 350, sponsored by the Certified Aftermarket Parts Association which was just allowed to die in California (see other cover story). The organization has offered three amendments for its buy-in. “Unfortunately, as written the bill contains contradictory and confusing sections that would erode consumer protections if enacted,” the organization wrote in its April 14, 2010, let-

ter to Assemblymember Mary Hayashi, (D-Hayward), who chairs the Committee of Business and Professions. “The CRA does what others won’t do. We’re not afraid to step out of the box and get in the faces of state or local officials and try to make them accountable,” says John Tyczki, CRA treasurer and owner of El Dorado Collision Center in Poway and J&M Autobody in San Diego. “Our board members are owners in the industry— not vendors—and we understand the industry needs.” Tyczki started in the industry in 1979 sweeping floors. “I felt that CRA provided a great opportunity to help me have a voice and be associated with some very knowledgeable industry leaders,” says Kim Andreatta, owner of Bakersfield Auto Body and CRA’s vice president. His family began the company in 1951, today a 20,000-squarefoot facility on 2.75 acres. “Those leaders have been a great help, not only to me as a shop owner but in looking out for the public’s well-being concerning their rights as motorists and safety issues on how vehicles are repaired and with what types of parts,” he adds. “They gave me a voice in the state capital and have helped me become a better-informed business owner.” Nathan Simmons, a CRA board member and also a president of local chapter of California’s other auto body association, the CAA, says he joined CRA after seeing a video of the hearing with Sen. Jackie Speiers and the shop owners who founded the group. “CRA goes after the real problem in the autobody repair industry,” says Simmons, owner of C&C Collision in Pasadena for 10 years. “They are not swayed by aftermarket-parts sponJackie Speier sors, they do not let relationships with insurers get in the way, they do not allow personal agendas to bog down or dilute the association.” “If it’s important to consumers and repairers, you better believe the CRA is going to do whatever it takes to solve the problem,” he adds. “If you’re worried about your insurer relations, just send your support, so we can continue to fight these battles.” To join CRA, contact:

Allen Wood 916-837-2362 Awoodauto@aol.com Po Box 2891 Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-2891 530-620-7480 Fax: 530-620-7332 www.cra-ca.com

4 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

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6 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com


California Ends Hybrids’ HOV Status for Singles

According to the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board, hybrid vehicles with the yellow Clean Air Vehicle stickers will no longer have access to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or carpool lanes with only one occupant. The EPA decided to allow only white Clean Air Vehicle sticker carrying vehicles in HOV lanes with a single oc-

cupant after the popularity of hybrid vehicles has become too much for HOV lanes to handle. California law allows single-occupant use of HOV lanes by qualifying clean alternative fuel vehicles. Use of these lanes with only one occupant requires a Clean Air Vehicle Sticker issued by the California Department of

Motor Vehicles (DMV). There are two types of stickers; White Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available to an unlimited number of qualifying Federal Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEVs). Cars that meet these requirements are typically certified pure zero emission vehicles (100% battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Assembly Bill 1500 extended the expiration of white stickers to January 1, 2015. Yellow Clean Air Vehicle Stickers were limited to the first 85,000 applicants of qualifying hybrids. This limit has been reached and there will be no more yellow stickers issued. Yellow stickers issued to date are set to expire on December 31, 2010, however, pending legislation (SB 535) may extend the use of existing yellow stickers until July 1, 2011. Any new applications for yellow Clean Air Vehicle stickers will be rejected. For additional information contact the ARB Helpline at (800) 242-4450. To search all local, State and Federal vehicle incentives, visit the incentives search on www.DriveClean.ca.gov.

Toyota’s Chief Test Driver Dies In German Auto Crash

Toyota’s chief test driver, 67-year-old Hiromu Naruse, has died in a crash on highway 410 near the famed Nürburgring race track in Germany on June 23 according to reports made by the German newspaper Rhein-Zeitung. He was driving the recently spied Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition at the time of the accident, and reports say he

Both cars suffered immense damage to their front ends

Naruse’s yellow Lexus LFA crashed into other test drivers in a BMW

veered into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with two others test drivers in a BMW near the famed Nürburgring race track. The reason for Naruse’s quick swerve into oncoming traffic was still being investigated. The two BMW test drivers survived the crash, though one is reportedly still in critical condition. Police are investigating

the crash and have yet to determine its cause. Naruse, a long time car enthusiast and chief test driver, was heavily involved with the development of the Lexus LFA supercar he was driving, along with many other past sports cars from Toyota’s history since he joined the company in 1963. Enthusiasts today call him the “Godfather of the LFA,” though he was involved in the development of sports cars for Toyota as more than just their chief test driver going as far back as the storied 2000GT from the late 1960s. The prototype of a special edition version of the LFA that he was driving when the accident occurred was reportedly worth 1.5 million euro.

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 7


Shop and Product Showcase

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

21st Century Collision in Oklahoma City Relies on Chief Equipment with Ed Attanasio

A long-time collision repair professional knows that the right equipment can make his job easier. But if a lift or another piece of shop equipment can fail during a busy period, it can break the business

“I’ve worked with quite a few great suppliers and vendors over the years,” Haney, Jr. said. “If you can identify the best products and build an ongoing relationship with these companies, you can get an advantage in this industry. I’ve been very fortunate to be associated with companies like Chief. Without the proper equipment, you won’t survive long in this business.” 21st Century is a busy collision repair facility, but it’s not 21st Century Collision is a busy shop in Oklahoma City that repairs just a “body shop”, approximately 250 cars per month according to Haney, and cause chaos trying to meet those Jr. “I don’t like to call us a body shop, behighly critical cycle times. Lee Haney, cause we do so much more. In these times, Jr., owner of 21st Century Collision, a with the technology we have, the industry 13-year-old shop in Oklahoma City, can has changed and body shop just doesn’t cite equipment manufactured by Chief describe what we’re doing to get these cars Automotive Technology as being a great back to pre-existing condition.” asset to the overall success of his opera21st Century Collision fixes approxition. mately 250 vehicles monthly, Haney Jr.

8 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

said. The business operates out of a 20,000-square-foot shop and employs 2325 people. When the weather turns nasty, 21st Century sees a spike in business, when huge hailstones rain on the area. “The storms are good for us, but we don’t like them, does that make sense? It’s not the type of work we like to do. It’s all hoods and roofs and fixing dents. I’d rather fix cars--I hate the bad weather. Our biggest thrill is getting a car in here that is totally destroyed but still fixable, and then returning it to 100% it original condition. That’s what we live for, but the storm work isn’t like that, to be honest.” Haney, Jr. learned the collision business working for his late father, a life-timer in the collision industry who often imparted his vast knowledge about this industry to all of his three sons, he said. “My dad taught us this business inside and out. He was a body man and a paint guy all his life. I learned a ton working by his side for more than two decades. Some of the best things he said were basic advice, but he was right on. He said ‘never

get sleazy’ and ‘it’s not a problem, it’s a situation.’” In 1988, Haney, Jr. left the family business, Flair Body Shop, and ventured out on his own to work for a Dodge dealership in Oklahoma City, he said. It was a

21st Century has been purchasing and using Chief Equipment since the very first day it opened its doors 13 years ago

great learning experience, because he got a chance to run a busy collision repair facility at the dealership level for nearly a decade, he said. “It was a great job, because I was able to learn the business from a different See 21st Century Collision, Page 12


Recession-Impacted Arizona Shops Realign by David M. Brown Special to Autobody News

Arizona body shops, and the state in general, made hard contact with the big recession, but shops are applying old and new tools to realign themselves in the ‘New Economy.’ The major challenge to collision shops today, in a word, is survival. “Nor-

Bob Schubert’s Impact Auto Body in Mesa, AZ

mally our industry has a growth rate of 3– 10% yearly, but some shops are off as much as 50% in the past two years,” explains Bob Isham, owner of New Image Paint and Body in Tempe, just southeast of Phoenix. He has six employees, including

himself and wife Judy. Isham experienced reductions of 11% in 2009 and 10% in 2008. Still, so far he’s up about 6% over last year. “People are more price conscious, and a lot of customers are cashing out and only fixing their ‘nondrive’ vehicles. People are also driving less and getting into fewer accidents. The good news is that driving is up slightly in 2010, and we are hoping things will start to turn upwards in the collision business.” “The recession was bad enough, but when gas hit $4 per gallon, folks just quit driving any more than necessary,” says Bob Schubert, owner of Impact Auto Body in nearby Mesa. “Fewer accidents and a huge increase in the percentage of potential customers that cashed out rather than repairing their vehicles forced us to reshape our marketing strategy and get a better handle on costs,” Schubert told Autobody News. Founded in 1981, his company of 10

employees now serves customers in a 23,000-square foot building. Still, he notes that recently he’s thought 5,000 square feet would have been enough at times: “I have never seen anything even remotely close to this recession—at least in the way it effects collision repair shops.” Many customers are not able, or willing, to meet their insurance deductibles. “In today’s economy, it is shocking to learn how many people are actually taking the insurance money for their vehicle repairs and cashing out instead of fixing their autos,” says Bill Wallace, owner of 10,000-square foot Preferred Collision Shop in Scottsdale. Wallace refered to one insurance company report indicating that only 12 out of every 30 estimates written were being repaired in the recession. “This means more drivers are on the road with damage that could be potentially hazardous to other drivers,” he notes. Answers? Slash overhead, reduce all but essential expenses, rethink, retool. Isham renegotiated his lease and cut rent by $5,000 a year. He slashed advertising and gave up the extra storage space that had been part of the previous lease— another $10,000 a year savings. “We simply made room for the things

we had stored by packing it into our main building,” he says. “Some items were tossed out.” In Tucson, Dan Hunsaker, owner of 20,000-square-foot Dan’s Paint & Body, has leaned up on the production side. “I’ve

Ed Heward, at Sampson Body Shop Service Center in Mesa, AZ

learned to analyze all aspects of expenses, cutting where necessary and possible,” he says. He’s reduced his employee number to 21—and is carrying more of the administrative load—“much to my chagrin,” he said. At one time, Impact’s Schubert had 32 employees supporting $3.5 million in annual sales. Now, he has 15, including wife Debbie, who since 1981 has handled outside sales and marketing. For the first

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time, she’s also helped out at the front desk. “Everybody has had to do a little more to make up for the cutbacks,” he explains. With Debbie, though, this has been particularly advantageous: “She not only learned more about the business operations, she brought great customer service

Preferred Collision Shop in Scottsdale, AZ

skills with her, and this helped us in a number of different ways,” he says Ed Heward, owner of Samson Body Shop Service Center, Auto Glass and Towing, an approximately 7,500-square-foot facility in central Mesa, also had to trim his employees from 12 to now four full time and one part time. Still, he’s diversified to generate more business. “We now do mechanical repairs,

auto glass, and towing as well as auto body and paint, restoration and custom fabrication,” says Heward, one of the founders of the Arizona Collision Craftsmen’s Association in 1987 and the organization’s president from 2005–07 before it merged with the current Automotive Service Association of Arizona. Diversifying marketing approaches has worked for Schubert. “We now do many more things to promote our business and to get customers to promote it for us. That has had a positive difference on our both our work volume and the mix of work,” he says. He adds that the credit he established at the banks through good times has helped him through bad. Wallace has redirected marketing dollars toward customer deductibles or rental vehicles to assist clients in repairing their vehicles. In addition, he’s become more flexible in pricing. “We continue to generate revenue by price matching any thorough estimate lower than ours, offering discounts and doing

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anything we can to ‘get the job done.’” Isham has had to trim to one employee and hasn’t offered raises recently. He’s focused on the basics of customer satisfaction: “We put our money in the quality of the finished product and try to make customers happy with every repair we Preferred is proud of its immaculate waiting room do. Our quality has not suffered, and I think the weak economy quo for far too long—myself included. The forces our employees to ‘try harder’ as business landscape will never, ever be the they know finding a new job would be same in America. Change, or you are finished.” tough.” Unlike many commission-based shops, Isham pays salaries, with one emPromote your business with ployee on hourly compensation. “If we slow up, our payroll does not go down, but an exclusive article featuring the employees appreciate that since they your products or services. can rely on a steady check. We feel we can deliver better quality if the employee is not ‘counting hours’ and trying to make a bundle by cutting corners.” Hunsaker has learned that they who stand and wait will not be served. “This CALL: Joe Momber for details! has never happened before on this scale, so I feel many—if not most—business people fought hard to maintain the status

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Continued from Page 8

21st Century Collision

angle.” Haney, Jr. said. “Working in a dealership environment helped me to realize some important things—how to motivate people and assemble a team. It was a useful experience because it showed me how it’s done in a different setting. Fixing cars is the same, but running a large crew gave me some invaluable experience. In the end, customer service and doing quality work is the most important thing, regardless of whether you’re running an independent shop or working for a big dealership’s shop.” In his many years running collision repair businesses of different sizes, Haney, Jr. has owned more than 20 Chief Automotive pieces of varied equipment. “I was introduced to Chief in the mid-‘70s and I’ve never had a bad experience with their equipment. We’ve never had a safety issue and their support is world-class. Every time I see one of their reps at NACE, they remember us. Their people keep in touch with us and they’re an important part of why we buy from Chief.” Haney, Jr. describes his Chief equipment as ‘virtually indestructible.’ “When it comes to any piece of equipment, my main concern is quality, for obvious reasons. My techs can’t break the Chief equipment and

that’s the key. I want to buy something and then never worry about it again, and Chief is that way. In 2008 at NACE, I bought their newest machine. We spent a significant amount of money updating our equipment, in order to stay with the times and take advantage of the newest technology.”

21st Century likes Chief Equipment because it requires very little maintenance and will never break, according to the shop’s owner, Lee Haney, Jr

Haney, Jr. currently owns three Chief racks: An Excalibur, a Fuzion with a hopper and an F21 EZ Liner, his newest addition to his Chief team. In addition, his shop features three computer measuring machines, two Velocities and one Vector. He also owns a Stingray Welding System manufactured by Chief. “Chief has done an unbelievable job for us," Haney, Jr. said. “The support we’ve received from our distributors-the people at English Color & Supply-has been tremendous. They’re right here in town and if we need them, they’re here. The deal is—they don’t have to

come down here much to service these machines, because they don’t break down.” If you’re not familiar with Chief Automotive, it’s a brand of the Vehicle Service Group which is a subsidiary of the Dover Corporation – a Fortune 500 company, according to the company’s Web site. “That gives us the financial strength and stability we need to give our customers long-term service while continually developing innovative products and technologies,” their mission statement outlines. Haney, Jr. likes the speed and accuracy offered by his computerized measuring systems. “We put the vehicle information in the system and it tells us the measurements instantly. It’s dead-on accurate every time and it’s very easy to operate. We rely on those machines every day, so we need them to work perfectly every time, or we’re in trouble.” English Color’s Equipment Sales Manager for Oklahoma and Arkansas, Alan Vinyard, is Haney, Jr.’s rep for Chief and respects the way he runs his operation. “Lee must be doing something right, because he’s one of the busiest shops in town. He’s always looking to get the best and newest equipment he can find—including his paint booth, his lifts and everything in between. He knows Chief after many years working with their products, so we don’t need to sell him about the brand.”

The collision repair business isn’t easy, but after all these years out on the front lines, Haney, Jr. can’t encounter anything that will rattle him, he said. “It’s a great business for young people to get in, but it’s tough in many ways. I tell people owning a collision facility has tested me more than once, but I’ll never go postal.” What has been the main reason for keeping 21st Century busy during a tough economic period? “The economy has changed, but we’re still fixing cars the only way we know. Things are a little leaner and money is a little tighter everywhere, but quality is always the most important thing and we won’t ever compromise that.”

21st Century Collision 6501 West Reno Avenue Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73127 (405) 787-6143

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GM Said to Decide Against Credit Unit, May Team Up With Banks According to reports made by Bloomberg and the Associated Press, General Motors Co. has decided against creating its own finance unit and is instead talking with banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. about bolstering its lending capabilities, people with direct knowledge of the decision said. The banks would write loans and leases on cars, helping to spur sales, said four people with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre aimed to get the automaker back into financing before its planned initial public offering this year, people familiar with the situation have said. The company consid-

ered buying back its former lending arm, GMAC LLC, starting a bank or working with outside lenders to offer customers more financing options. Buying GMAC, now called Ally Financial Inc., or starting a new, in-house banking unit proved too difficult at this point, they said. GM, based in Detroit, is looking for other banks to boost its subprime-lending and leasing capabilities, the people said. GM has missed out on some sales because GMAC, its primary retail lender, doesn’t lend to subprime borrowers, Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, has said. About 7 percent of GM’s customers are subprime borrowers. Most of GM’s major rivals own their own finance companies. The captive lenders aid the parent company’s sales by taking added risk and paying to

Driver Error as Main Cause for UnintendedAcceleration in Toyotas

According to reports made by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, Toyota Motor Corp. says data from black boxes it has inspected in their vehicles show that many drivers were pressing on the throttle, not the brake pedal, during certain unintended-acceleration events. Over the past four month, Toyota has investigated about 2,000 reports of unintended acceleration. It has reviewed the data from recorders when a car was in a crash. Michaels said the causes of unintended acceleration include a slight number of pedals being trapped by floor mats and sticking pedals-issues that prompted Toyota to recall more than 8 million vehicles globally to fix. There also have been some issues with other objects in the car, but mostly the wrong pedal being pushed, Michaels said. When asked by Bloomberg to describe the number of crashes that were caused by the wrong pedal being pressed, Michaels said it was “virtually all.” A report on July 13 by the Wall Street Journal said that the NHTSA had found that drivers were actually pushing on the throttle pedal, not the brake pedal.

www.autobodynews.com CHECK IT OUT! 14 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

reduce interest rates on subprime borrowers’ loans and move them into nearprime loans. In its research, GM has found that dealers have often had to lengthen loan terms for subprime buyers to offer lower monthly payments because the banks won’t lend at more attractive interest rates. In the longer term, GM may still have a chance of acquiring GMAC, two of the people said. For now, GM doesn’t see a way to do the deal, doesn’t want GMAC’s ResCap mortgage unit and GMAC also wasn’t interested in selling, they said. The U.S. Treasury Department owns 61 percent of GM and 56 percent of GMAC. While some Treasury officials favor merging the two, the government doesn’t want to get involved in forcing a deal, the people said.

Seidner's Collision Centers Acquires Twelfth Location

Seidner’s Collision Centers will open their 12th location in Fontana, California on September 1, 2010. The facility was previously known as Stinger Collision Center. “Our latest acquisition is consistent with our growth strategy in select markets in the Southern California region,” said Steve Seidner. The 12,000 square foot collision center is located on Manzanita Drive in Fontana, CA. “As always, our focus is on customer service, cycle time and severity. This new location will strengthen our position as one of the regional leaders in collision repair,” explained Seidner. “Expanding our footprint in the growing Inland Empire has always been part of our growth strategy.” Seidner’s Collision Center is a family owned organization with twelve locations in San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire.


www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 15


Ford Pioneers Use of Eco-Friendly Soy Oil in Rubber Auto Parts

Ford Motor Company’s biomaterial researchers have engineered a patent-pending formula to use renewable soy oil to improve rubber car parts and make them more environmentally friendly said the automaker July 8. By using renewable soy oil as a 25 percent replacement for petroleum oil, Ford researchers more than doubled rubber’s stretchability and reduced its environmental impact. Soy-based rubber parts such as radiator deflector shields, air baffles, cupholder inserts and floor mats are under consideration for future Ford vehicle programs. The scope of Ford’s recent rubber research, which was funded in part by grants from the United Soybean Board (USB), included the use of soy fillers (flour, meal) as well as soy oils. Ford researchers found that soy fillers could provide an inexpensive and environmentally friendly partial replacement of carbon black, a petroleum-based material traditionally used to reinforce rubber. Used together, soy oil and soy fillers could replace up to 26 percent of the petroleum-based content in automotive rubber applications. According to the International Rubber Study Group, the automotive sector

accounts for more than 50 percent of worldwide rubber consumption, which exceeded 22 million metric tons in 2008. Automotive rubber usage is expected to rise more than 4 percent through 2013. Ford was the first automaker to demonstrate that soy-based foams could be formulated to pass stringent requirements for automotive applications, starting with seats for the 2008 Ford Mustang and headliners for the 2010 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. The new 2011 Ford Explorer will become the 23rd model to feature soy foam. With bio foam on more than 2 million vehicles, Ford has annually reduced its petroleum oil usage by more than 3 million pounds and its carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million pounds. Ford also is looking at the use of other renewable sources for foam, including grape seed and sunflower oil. In addition to bio foam, the company is working with post-consumer recycled resins to make underbody systems, postindustrial recycled yarns for seat fabrics, repurposed nylon carpeting made into nylon resin and molded into cylinder head covers, and wheat straw-reinforced plastic parts. The use of recycled or renewable content is making a positive impact on the environment and Ford’s bottom line.

Sacramento Considers Tax for Out-of-Town Motorists in Collisions Insurance Journal is reporting that Sacramento is the latest local government in California to consider imposing a tax on out-of-town motorists who are involved in local auto accidents, which many insurers oppose, according to Sam Sorich, president of the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC). The Sacramento City Council’s Law and Legislation Committee is scheduled to consider an ordinance imposing the tax at its July 20 meeting. ACIC intends to testify against the tax proposal. The proposed Sacramento ordinance anticipates the city contracting with a third-party vendor that will bill non-residents who are involved in motor vehicle accidents in Sacramento. Sorich noted that vendors have been hired by several other California local governments. In most cases, the vendor sends bills that are supposed to cover accident response costs to the victims’ auto insurers. Some insurers pay the bill, others do not. Therefore, some policyholders can

get stuck with the bill. When the bills are covered by insurance policies, the cost of the bills drive up auto insurance rates for all motorists, according to ACIC. “It is unfortunate that local governments are adversely affected by the deep recession. But charging accident victims is unwise public policy and unfair,” Sorich said. “ACIC opposes these billing schemes because they impose unfair crash taxes on insurance customers and could confront insurance company customers with higher premiums.” Sorich pointed out that concerns already have been raised in one municipality – Woodland near Sacramento. The Woodland City Council adopted a similar tax in June 2009. Since then the Yolo County Grand Jury has raised questions about the legality of the tax and has found that the tax does not appear to be producing its projected revenue, according to ACIC. For more information please visit www.acicnet.org.

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On Creative Marketing

Tom Franklin has been a sales and marketing consultant for forty years. He has written numerous books and provides marketing solutions and services for many businesses. He can be reached at (323) 871-6862 or at tbfranklin@aol.com. See Tom’s columns at www.autobodynews.com under Columnists > Franklin

Using Fraud And Fear As Marketing Tools with Thomas Franklin

A while back, Ford used the following headline in their magazine ads: “Only Your Mother Cares More About Your Safety.” With the media today telling consumers about manufacturing defects and recalls, faulty repairs by shops, and even huge amounts of fraud, the prospective repair customer may fear for her and her children’s lives if she chooses the wrong shop. Today many people are more motivated by fear than by positive motives. This may be a good time for a wise shop-owner to use this perception to his or her advantage. Every successful shop owner needs to educate the customer about the importance of doing a quality repair and why his or her shop is the best place to get it. And maybe a few shop owners make some comments about the poor quality of a competitor. But now it may be time to talk seriously about the dangers of faulty repairs. Accelerator pedals that stick, brakes that fail to stop a vehicle, welds that don’t hold, and—perhaps worst of all—repairs that were paid for and never done. These are all legitimate sources of fear that a shop owner can capitalize on when selling the reliability

and integrity of his or her shop. Recently more than fifty shop owners and estimators in Orange County were charged with fraud. This is not a new problem. An article in the January 30, 2007 Los Angeles Times [controversially] reported that an investigation by the State of California BAR “has found that billing for 43% of cars inspected so far, after being repaired had evidence of fraud with an average of $586 in overcharges for parts not used or labor not performed.” The article further reported that “about 13% of the repaired vehicles had structural issues that would indicate inadequate or defective repairs to car frames… Those inadequacies included improper welds and failure to rust-proof key parts.” It goes without saying that many of these deficiencies compromise the safety of the driver and passengers of the vehicle repaired. [Ed—the numbers cited in this article were later walked back by the BAR chief appointed at about the time the article was written, citing flawed methodology in the survey.] A jury in Massachusetts convicted a mother and son and the owner of a Stoughton auto body repair shop on

charges they conspired to defraud an insurance company of $50,000 by inflating damages to a BMW convertible. $50,000 is cheap compared to the auto body shop owner and five co-defendants in Massachusetts, who plead guilty for their roles in a staged accident insurance fraud scam. A recent talk by 30-year industry veteran Dale Delmege at several CAA meetings asserted that about seventy-five percent of the 40,000 collision repair shops in the U.S. provide less than total quality repairs, leaving hidden damage uncorrected. (See July issue of Autobody News). He also noted that the shop that takes the time to do a thorough, quality repair leaving no hidden liabilities is paid the same as the shop down the street that takes costsaving short cuts. He also suggested that there may be a way to enjoy more revenue for your superior repair work. Many potential customers coming into a shop for an estimate have just had an emotionally traumatic experience. They may be exceptionally susceptible to any reassurances that their repair will be thorough and

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safe. How can you challenge the deceptive claims of a competitor down the street without simply bad mouthing him or her? Dalmege suggests your should prove WHY your shop and your repairs are superior to those of a majority of other shops. Obviously, education is the only answer. You are already doing a certain amount of educating the customer. Can’t you justify the additional time it can take to show a customer examples of hidden damage and the probability of neglected repairs that would be out of sight? Perhaps you can’t afford not to! Those shops found guilty of fraud or billing for inadequate repairs may not be around for long, but for honest shops, fraud investigation like this is good news. Shops with an exemplary record of complaint-free performance attract customers looking for a facility where they can be confident of the integrity of the owner and all employees. With such a high percentage of fraud in auto body repair, a shop with conscientious, ethical policies may make that shop a popular choice for both private individuals and insurance companies looking for a new direct repair facility.

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Industry Pioneer Earl Scheib, Inc. Folds After 75 Years Painting Cars Nationally famous for its low-priced paint jobs, Earl Scheib, Inc. ceased operations nationwide on Friday, July 16 as the company closed its doors for good in order to turn control of its company-owned stores over to individual owners. The company has been owned since 2009 by the San Diego-based private equity firm of Kelly Capital, LLC who acquired in 2009 for an estimated $8 million, and relaunched the corporate operations as New Earl Scheib Paint & Body Shop. The California-based chain consists of more than 175 stores in about 150 U.S. cities. About half of the company’s facilities are in California, but the company had stores in 16 other states as far east as New York, Virginia and Washington D.C. Though the stores are primarily known for economically priced, production auto painting services, body and fender repair services are also offered. Earl Scheib manufactures its own paint at a company-owned facility in Missouri. The company established a fleet sales division in 1998. The Earl Scheib brand became well known largely through founder Earl A. Scheib, a pioneer of advertising. The company was founded in 1937 by its namesake, Earl A. Scheib who opened the first Earl Scheib Paint and Body in Los Angeles. Scheib decided to paint a few

cars in his gas station’s garage during the evening hours when the station was closed. What began as a small, after-hours endeavor soon blossomed, and Scheib could not keep up with demand. Scheib was the first to introduce production painting of automobiles in the United States. Offering low prices of $29.95 for sedans and $24.95 for coupes, Scheib seriously undercut competitors’ prices, which generally ran a few hundred dollars for a complete job. Because of the rock-bottom prices, customers rushed to Scheib’s shop, reportedly causing traffic snarls that required assistance from the police. Open daily, Scheib and his ten employees painted between 150 and 210 cars per week during the early years. Scheib began to expand nationally in the 1950s, and to raise awareness of his auto painting shops he turned to advertising. Earl Scheib marketed his shops through low-budget television commercials on late-night TV programs. Scheib soon became a national icon and celebrity, and his oft-heard sales pitch, “I’m Earl Scheib, and I’ll paint any car, any color for $29.95. No ups, no ex-

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tras,� became an instantly recognizable phrase. Scheib is credited as being the first spokesperson for his own company, handled all advertising and developed and wrote his own television commercials. Scheib believed viewers would find his ads more convincing and genuine if he spoke directly to the viewers about the company’s offerings. As son Donald explained in a company statement: ‘He’d personally call the station manager and tell him to interrupt a sponsored show at a pivotal moment and run his ad. ... So you’d be watching a show, the villain’s sneaking up behind the hero with a knife, and just when he’s about to plunge the knife into the hero’s back ... Earl comes on the screen pitching his service.’ Scheib’s commercials were seen and heard on television and radio stations in more than 100 cities, and he continued to film spots until his death in 1992. Earl Scheib, Inc., which went public in 1963, was the largest non-franchised auto painting chain by the 1980s. Though the cost of a standard Earl Scheib paint job had grown to $99.95, the chain’s prices were still among the lowest in the industry and appealed to budget-minded consumers. Car owners were choosing to keep their cars longer, and this trend was reflected in Scheib’s sales; in the early 1980s the company’s sales increased an average of 17.6 percent per year, and between 1982 and 1985 the firm’s stock quadrupled. By 1985 there were 275 Earl Scheib stores, ranging from Hawaii to New York. The company opened its first store in Canada in 1984 and and an Earl Scheib store opened in London in 1985. On February 29, 1992, a day after turning 85, Earl Scheib passed away, leaving behind a legacy and a struggling business. A few days later the company’s stock skyrocketed 47 percent as investors speculated about the future of the company. Many believed Scheib’s 37 percent interest in the company would be sold in order to finance his estate taxes. Irwin Buchalter, an Earl Scheib board member and executor of Scheib’s estate, indicated that the 37 percent stake would be divided between Scheib’s three sons, all of whom were employed by the company. Buchalter acknowledged problems with Scheib’s management and commented in the Wall Street Journal that Scheib ‘refused to take realization of the economy--of what was happening to the auto-painting business. He always felt he had to have the lowest prices in the business by a wide stretch.’ Scheib’s belief, Buchalter noted, prevented

him from raising prices to compensate for slow sales. It was not until June 1991 that Scheib finally relented, raising the price of a basic paint job from $99.95 to $119.95. Earl Scheib’s death, his son Donald was named president and CEO. Donald Scheib had previously served as vice-president. Irwin Buchalter was elected chairman. The company also announced that it had no plans to sell. The formidable task of turning around the ailing company was started. For fiscal 1993 the company reported sales of $53.64 million and a net loss of $110,000. The following fiscal year sales declined to $48.49 million, yet net loss grew to $1.82 million.

The New Earl Scheib A major restructuring strategy was adopted in fiscal 1995, and as a result 84 unprofitable stores, most situated in the Midwest and East, were closed. The company took a pre-tax charge of $4.2 million for restructuring-related costs. The following fiscal year Earl Scheib reported its first profit in four years. The company spent about $4.6 million to renovate and convert 137 stores into the New Earl Scheib Paint and Body store format. The new stores boasted an updated look, including new paint and graphics, as well as new exterior signs. The shops also offered a customer information center and modern equipment, such as the Infrared Quartz Finish Drying System. Conversions of stores in California were completed in early 1996, and results were initially positive. The new shop format was designed to boost the chain’s image, and to back up its new exterior, Earl Scheib started developing a new, top-quality paint. “We definitely had some of the worst paint in the industry,� Chief Operating Officer Christian Bement admitted in the Los Angeles Daily News. “When I first got here I received letters from customers complaining about the paint jobs. The paint that was chipping off was actually in the envelopes,’ he added. The company-owned paint manufacturing plant in Missouri was called upon to create a high-quality auto paint, and the outcome was Euro-Paint, a 100 percent acrylic urethane paint. Introduced in 1997, the paint provided durability and a high-gloss finish and was rated as the best paint in production auto painting by Paint Research Association Laboratories Inc. The paint, as well as other changes, effectively reduced the percentage of jobs that had to be redone because of poor quality. The company’s ‘redo rate’ dropped from 22 percent in 1995 to below six percent in the late 1990s. Recently, according to the company See Earl Scheib, Page 26

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 19


Specialty Paint & Body Repair in Athens GA—A Recycling Specialist by David M. Brown

Thomas Durrence’s Specialty Paint & Body is growing — and his “green” efforts are making other things grow in the Peach State.

Bins outside the shop provide a place for employees to recycle properly

Since 1987, his full-service shop, 11542 Jefferson Road in Athens, Ga., has been providing auto body repair in the Athens and Jefferson areas. The 13,100-square-footshop, an I-CAR Gold Class service facility, repairs more than 800 cars and trucks annually. About 91 percent are insurance referrals, and the shop is also referred from several area dealerships, explains Durrence,

who started Specialty after working in the collision industry for several years. Old-fashioned business virtues have primed his success, he notes: “Our primary goals are quality repair, fair prices, and customer convenience, and our well-trained employees are committed to quality, honesty and integrity.” At the same time, he and his 10 employees use the latest estimating and management software and advanced equipment for body repair and painting — ensuring a quality product for the customers. For instance: “We blueprint the repair for individual cars so as to minimize waste and maximize efficiency,” Durrence says. “We seek to understand our customers and give them the repair they desire as well as educate them on the repair process.” He notes, too, that Specialty Paint & Body is one of the few facilities in Athens designed as a body shop: “This allows us to repair cars in assembly-line fashion with as little down time between steps as possible.” Most recently, his shop is also thinking green, finding that Earth concern is producing not only a more efficient shop but a more economical one as well. “We are a better business because recycling allows us to reduce our environmental impact,” Durrence says. “Our recycling program keeps clutter to a minimum, which improves our effi-

20 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

ciency, which improves our bottom line.” For one, the shop recently converted the painting system to waterborne — lessening the release of volatile organic compounds, which evaporate from liquids such as paint, paint thinner and gasoline. “We made the decision to convert to waterborne paints for the health of our employees as well as the environment,” Dur-

A view of the front of Specialty Paint & Body

rence says. Because of the changeover, the shop has also minimized the amount of hazardous waste generated and has improved color match, reducing tint time, he adds. And, because waterborne paints cover better, paint-jobber bills have gone down. In addition, Specialty has been recycling post-consumer material — otherwise disposed as solid waste. His employees even compost shredded office paper for use as fertilizer; one of his employees spreads this on his organic garden.

So, too, Specialty has reserved areas for recycling plastic parts, metal parts, paper and cardboard; these eventually go to an off-site recycling center. “Knowing that recycling benefits the environment motivates the employees to keep recycled materials in designated areas,” Durrence explains, adding that the specificity makes this part of the shop’s recycling system particularly easy to follow. “These efforts greatly reduce our trash and have allowed us to use a smaller dumpster,” he says. As a result, the company’s garbage services bill has been reduced 20 percent since the change. In addition, Specialty Paint & Body reuses the plastic sheeting from vendor parts deliveries to wrap customer parts while repairs to the vehicles are being made. For example, technicians will protect interior door panels with bubble wrap until it is reinstalled on the car when repairs are complete. In addition, Specialty reuses plastic cardboard boxes at least once to organize small parts for the technicians. After this, they are broken down and recycled. Durrence plans to bring both of his sons, Nick and Adam, into the business soon. Besides planning future upper management, he says, “I am continuously working to improve our cycle time, market share, customer service — as well as our capability to think and act with sensitivity for the environment.”


Shop and Product Showcase

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

Pacific Collision Centers Says Relationship with PPG a “Wise Move” with Ed Attanasio

Steve Vettel, owner of Pacific Collision Centers, with six locations located in five Southern California counties, learned the collision business by working at the dealership level for many years, and gleaned much knowledge from that perspective. Since then, Vettel’s shops have flourished and consistently generated rave reviews, while establishing a reputation for embracing the latest technology and operating on the cutting edge. His relationship

Pacific Collision Centers has six shops located in five Southern California counties

with PPG, his paint supplier for more than a decade, is one of the reasons why Pacific Collision has hit impressive numbers, even

during a recession. Together, Pacific’s six locations repairs an average of approximately 500 cars monthly, operating out a total of 140,000 combined square footage and employing 100 people, including 25 paint crew members, Vettel told Autobody News. At his peak, Vettel said he was repairing 750 cars per month, but the recession dropped his numbers, just like everyone else’s in the country. “So much has changed within the last 18 months that we don’t know where we’re headed right now. The larger operations will survive and a lot of the smaller independents will be closing or getting absorbed by the larger chains. That’s the reality of it, so we need to prepare for these developments if we want to survive and stay profitability.” One of the things Vettel calls a “smart move” involves his 12-year relationship with PPG. “They’ve helped us in so many ways,” he said. “We’ve used their assistance on how to dial in our processes and we’ve tapped into their knowledge and experience time and again. PPG is a great supplier, because they have a good product,

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Envirobase® High Performance, but they also help us on so many different levels.” “It’s a product that’s easy to use and that’s one of the biggest benefits of using PPG’s products,” Vettel said. “Over the 12

Pacific Collision Centers stresses professionalism and uses all of the latest techniques, products and equipment to repair an average of 500 cars monthly

years, we’ve really learned to appreciate everything about PPG, including the process, which is streamlined; the simplicity of the mixing and the color matching and the ease of application. And it was easy to teach our people about the product, which is a time savings, obviously. It’s a very user-friendly product.” Vettel started using PPG waterborne for a full nine months before the mandate in his counties took effect. “We’ve been using it for two years, so we’re completely comfortable with it by now. My philosophy was that I didn’t want to be on the bleeding edge, but I certainly wanted to be on the cutting edge. We wanted to convert before it was mandated, just so we could work out the kinks, and that’s what we did.” Vettel’s path to becoming an owner of six locations is somewhat unique. “I started out as a dealer auditor for Chrysler Corporation right out of college. My job essentially was to audit dealerships for profitability and it was very interesting to find out the body shops were busy and generated a fair amount of revenue, but they were never profitable on paper. I would sit down with these dealership principals, and they would always tell me that you can’t make money in the body collision industry. It was a very educational experience.” Vettel discovered that the dealership’s collision facilities were successful, but were always saddled by all of the fixed operations associated with selling new cars. “The rent, the insurance, the advertising--all went to the body shop’s expenses, so the owners viewed the collision aspect of their company as a loser, but they were actually making money.” After seeing this again and again, Vettel decided to go out on his own. “This can’t be this difficult, I thought. So, in 1987, I opened a small body shop in Huntington Beach with just two techs. And that was the

genesis of my career in collision repair.” When each new location opened, Vettel worked there until he knew it was time to open another one. “I am a very hands-on guy. Every time I opened a new store, I was the one working with the techs and training them myself. I’d get the model running in the back, and then I’d be the person writing the estimates and pushing the production. The entire time, I’d be growing my managers. When we were stable at the location, I’d start looking around for another area or opportunity. That’s how I was able to grow.” Jim Downey is the senior PPG regional manager who oversees half of Southern California and Hawaii. In the past few years, he’s been involved in helping more than 600 body shops to convert to PPG waterborne, including Vettel’s six locations. Vettel was an early adopter and made the changeover to waterborne one location at a time, Downey said. “Steve Vettel is probably one of the most astute businessmen I know in this industry. He’s always on top of the newest trend. He’s got an incredible background and he was able to foresee the economic crunch before others did and that’s why he’s surviving while a lot of other shops are struggling and don’t see any relief in sight.”

All of the Pacific Collision Centers use PPG waterborne to paint every vehicle that comes through the doors

Twice a month, Vettel, his managers and Auto Color Specialists, his local PPG distributor, conduct a conference call to stay in touch, discuss issues and monitor things like profitability and how they can do a better job, Downey said. “Every once in awhile, we’ll participate in the conference calls to find out what Steve’s shops are doing and to explore how we can make their lives easier. Feedback from the shop managers is very important and being proactive is the key. Anticipating rather than reacting is a smarter way to go, because when you have six locations, there is a ton of moving parts.” In the early days of waterborne, Vettel tested several other paints before deciding on PPG’s product. “Steve evaluated another See Pacific Collision Centers, Page 27

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 21


I-CAR’s New Collision Repair for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion

I-CAR premiered its newest course, Collision Repair for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion Vehicles (TOY01) on July 19. The course offers students training on repair procedures specific to Toyota vehicles, including advanced vehicle structures, hybrid systems, and driver-assist systems. “This course was developed for industry professionals involved in the collision repair process who can benefit from understanding Toyota’s repair positions. As the technology in Toyota vehicles continues to evolve, having an understanding of vehiclespecific repair procedures is essential to achieving a safe repair,” said Jeff Peevy, I-CAR Director of Field Operations. Peevy noted that Toyota manufacturers produce a growing number of vehicles that use different electrical, mechanical, and hybrid systems, which contribute to vehicle safety and improved fuel efficiency. Registration is currently open and new classes are being added to I-CAR’s schedules daily. Information on classes scheduled in your area can be found on the I-CAR website at www.i-car.com through the class search feature or by contacting I-CAR Customer Care at 800-422-7872.

Toyota and Tesla to Build Electric RAV4 for 2012

Toyota Motor Corp. and its Silicon Valley partner, Tesla Motors Inc., will develop an electric version of Toyota’s RAV4 SUV. A first prototype already has been produced. The two companies will work on prototypes combining the popular RAV4 with a Tesla electric powertrain. They expect to sell the SUVs in the United States in 2012, the two companies said. “Tesla’s goal is to produce increasingly affordable electric cars for mainstream buyers, relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs,” the Palo Altobased firm said in a statement. Tesla now sells an electric roadster priced at just over $100,000, while Toyota is a leader in gas-electric hybrid vehicles. It has said it was planning to start selling electric cars in the United States in 2012. The two companies announced in May that they would team up to develop electric cars. Toyota invested $50 million in Tesla, in a side deal to the firm’s initial public offering. Tesla bought a factory in Fremont, near San Francisco, where Toyota and General Motors Co. had produced vehicles in the joint North American Motor Manufacturing Inc. venture for 25 years until its closure this year.

22 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

VIN Scanner ID’s Stolen U.S. Vehicle on First Day of Test in Mexico

Bender Enterprises Inc. recently released a new handheld barcode VIN scanner (VINtrack-Live) to assist law enforcement in identifying stolen vehicles and wholesale car buyers in capturing the true identity and value of a vehicle. Mexican Federal authorities were testing this new technology at a check point just across the California border when the VINtrack software identified a stolen vehicle, missing for about a year, that would have otherwise slipped through the cracks. Over 400,000 stolen vehicles are not recovered every year in the United States and most of them end up back in commerce with their identity changed. These vehicles further victimize the new owners and automobile dealers as the vehicle will be confiscated by law enforcement. The sophistication of organized car theft rings has increased dramatically over the last decade making it very difficult for even a seasoned auto theft detective to distinguish a VIN-switched stolen vehicle or clone from a good vehicle. Auto thieves have used fraudulent Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) to pass off stolen cars to an unsuspecting marketplace using techniques that law enforcement call “VIN-switching,” and “Cloning.” VINtrack operates in conjunction with barcode scanners so that investigators can tell if a car has been stolen or if the VIN number has

been modified. VINtrack is the only software in the world specifically designed to detect counterfeit vehicle identification numbers. More than 200 local, state and federal agencies around the world use VINtrack systems for theft detection. The automotive industry, insurance companies, and automotive dealers use VINtrack systems to make informed buying decisions and prevent the millions of dollars lost by unknowingly selling VIN-switched vehicles. “This is an essential tool to improve recovery of these sophisticated 21st Century VIN-switches,” said Mike Bender, an international auto theft expert and founder of Bender Enterprises.

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Senate Candidate Fiorina (R) Speaks at Sacramento Shop

Senate candidate Carly Fiorina spoke at Alliance Auto Body, located in the 8100 block of Elder Creek Road in Sacramento on July 15. She pitched job creation and talked about what the government needs to do for the economy at a town hall-type meeting.

Fiorina launched “Asian Americans for Carly” at the event and named Ann Hoang Fogliani as statewide coalition chair. The former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO said that small businesses are an integral part of the Asian-American community. Republican candidate Fiorina is vying for Democrat Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat. Boxer’s campaign said in a statement that, “Fiorina wasn’t on the side of California workers at Hewlett-Packard, and she’s not on the side of California workers now.”

Nevada Gets New Insurance Commissioner, Brett J. Barratt

Nevada Department of Business & Industry Director Dianne Cornwall announced the appointment of Brett J. Barratt as the new Commissioner of the Division of Insurance. Barratt replaces Scott J. Kipper, who resigned the position in June. Barratt, an attorney, has extensive experience in insurance regulation. Beginning in February 2005, he served as the Insurance Counsel/Hearing Officer for the Division. In October 2009, he became the Chief Insurance Assistant for the Division. “Mr. Barratt comes to us with extensive knowledge of insurance regulation as well as strong legislative expertise and legal experience,” Director Cornwall said. “He has already proven his ability to lead during a transition, and I look forward to his ongoing oversight of this dynamic agency.” The Division regulates and licenses insurance producers, brokers and other professionals; sets ethical and financial standards for insurance companies; and reviews rates. The Division also reviews programs operated by self-insured employers for workers’ compensation, and investigates claims of insurance fraud.

Ford Introduces Curve Control Technology to Assist Drivers on Curves

Ford Motor Company June 28 announced a new innovation – Curve Control – designed to help drivers maintain control of their vehicles when taking a curve too quickly. Curve Control debuts as standard equipment on the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer going into production later this year, and will be offered on 90 percent of the company's North American crossovers, sport utilities, trucks and vans by 2015. The technology senses when a driver is taking a curve too quickly – a situation found to contribute to about 50,000 crashes each year in the U.S. – and rapidly reduces engine torque and can apply four-wheel braking, slowing the vehicle by up to 10 mph in about one second. Curve Control is effective on dry or wet pavement, and is expected to be particularly useful when drivers are entering or exiting freeway on- or off-ramps with too much speed. When a vehicle enters a curve too fast, the system responds to the driver's steering input by rapidly reducing torque and increasing brake pressure to help keep the vehicle under control. The patent-pending system works by measuring how quickly the vehicle is turning and comparing that with how

quickly the driver is trying to turn. When the vehicle is not turning as much as the driver is steering – also known as “pushing” – Curve Control activates. The system applies the precise amount of braking required on each wheel to enhance the individual wheel braking of the traditional stability control system. Based on Ford's exclusive AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control™), Curve Control uses sensors to measure roll rate, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, wheel speed and steering wheel angle, and runs calculations based on those inputs 100 times every second. Curve Control is one of several new driver assist and safety technologies to be offered on the all-new Explorer. Other technologies include next-generation adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, state-of-theart pressure-based airbag technology, the industry's first inflatable rear seat belts and intelligent four-wheel-drive terrain management system. Ford safety researchers found through analysis of government crash data that approximately 50,000 crashes annually in the U.S. involve driving too fast on a curve. For more information please visit http://www.ford.com/.

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 23


Continued from Page 1

Leno and Volt

“We’ve pulled into Bob’s Big Boy parking lot, opened the hood and drawn some great attention,” he said, noting the Volt was at the diner late last year in conjunction with the Los Angeles Auto Show. “There is a particular audience that is all about advanced technology and green transportation,” Peterson said. “For people like that, the Volt has that cachet. It’s kind of like an iPhone. An iPhone is still a cell phone with a lot of capability in it.” A lukewarm endorsement from Leno likely won’t have much impact on Volt buzz, said auto analyst Erich Merkle of Autoconomy.com in Grand Rapids. “If I were GM, I don’t know if I would be courting Jay Leno for the purpose of getting an endorsement on the Volt,” Merkle said. “Don’t get me wrong, Jay’s a big car guy, but he’s not your Prius, your Volt, your green car guy.” Leno’s Big Boy dig rings hollow, he added. “The typical Volt driver might be a vegan,” Merkle said. “They may be opposed to a Big Boy altogether.” Leno said GM needs to wow the public with the Volt’s performance. “For the Volt to be a success, it can’t be equal. It has to be superior,” he said.

The Volt, which will get up to 40 miles on electric power alone, will have a range of 300 miles on its gasoline engine. The Volt’s engine kicks in after its battery is drained by about 70 percent to sustain the battery’s remaining charge to keep the car running for several hundred miles. “I think it’s great technology,” Leno said. The comic also praised Ford Motors Co. CEO Alan Mulally and GM Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre Jr. “For years, they were building crappy cars under the reputation of building good cars. That caught up with them,” Leno said. “Now, they’re building world-class cars.” GM says other celebrities are clamoring for it, although the automaker declined to name them. “There are celebrities who would like to have it,” Peterson insisted.

Volt Battery Gets 100K Mile Warranty GM has announced an eight-year, 100,000mile warranty on the Chevrolet Volt’s new lithium-ion battery as a show of confidence in the technology’s capability. The warranty program is three years longer than GM’s standard powertrain warranty and is clearly designed to reassure consumers worried about buying a vehicle that relies on first-generation battery technology, one which executives hope will transform the public’s perception about GM.

“This is really a major statement of our confidence,” Vice Chairman of Global Product Operations Tom Stephens told the Detroit News. The lengthy warranty is necessary to convince consumers the Volt’s technology will work and be durable for the lifetime of the vehicle, said Ivan Drury, an analyst at Edmunds.com. “It’s almost a must for a vehicle seen as the showcase for Chevrolet, and therefore GM. There’s been so much hype. If the Volt fails in any way, it’s a disaster.” GM’s warranty is similar to the long warranties offered by other manufacturers of advanced-technology, clean vehicles. Toyota offers an eight-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty for its Prius hybrid in most states and a longer, 10-year, 150,000 mile warranty in California and other states that have adopted California’s stricter clean vehicle standards. Because GM has not had the Volt certified yet in California, the California Air Resources Board has not determined the warranty it would need to obtain partial zeroemission vehicle credits. GM announced its warranty program ahead of a key competitor, Nissan, which has not announced warranty plans for its all-electric Leaf, which goes on sale late this year. Tesla Motors, meanwhile, offers a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty on its electric Roadster sports car. Large batteries are very expensive,

ranging in cost from several thousands of dollars up to tens of thousands. GM would not disclose its battery costs Wednesday. Many automakers, including GM, offer similar, or stronger, warranties on hybrids. Ford offers an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrid batteries and components. Toyota offers the same warranty on its hybrid vehicles. Honda Motor Co., meanwhile, offers eight-year, 100,000-mile battery warranties on its Insight hybrid for cars sold in states that don’t follow the California Air Resources Board emissions standards. In states that do follow the standards, Honda offers a 10-year, 150,000-mile warranty. The Volt, which will get up to 40 miles on electric power alone, will have a range of 300 miles on its gasoline engine. The Volt’s engine kicks in after its battery is drained by about 70 percent to sustain the remaining charge and keep the car running. GM plans to produce 10,000 Volts for the 2011 model year before eventually expanding to as many as 30,000. Its warranty announcement was made during an event at GM’s battery assembly plant in Brownstown Township, where regular production of battery packs begins in August. The automaker also gave updates on validation and testing of the lithium-ion battery and details on the start of regular batterypack production.

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sales in stores open for more than a year and to continue expansion, but rising materials and administrative expenses stalled growth. A company statement read “Effective Friday July 16 Earl Scheib, Inc will be going out of business and closing our doors. We will be unable to respond to any warranty repair issues or any outstanding invoices due to our current circumstances. Thank you.” In a statement on its website, the company said, “We truly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, however we believe the independent owners and operators will continue to provide the same

Continued from Page 19

Earl Scheib

website, at least some of the stores had been using Sherwin-Williams brand and some are now in the process of switching to Sherwin-Williams’ waterborne. Earl Scheib stepped up its expansion efforts beginning in 1997, concentrating on opening more stores in existing markets to diminish the need for increased advertising expenditures and to fully penetrate existing markets. In 2000, the company continued with its comeback strategy. The company hoped to increase

great service that Earl Scheib, Inc. offered for almost 80 years. The shops received notice of the company’s plans to close about a week ago through telephone calls from company management. It will be up to the individual stores to decide whether they keep the Earl Sheib name.

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ASA Announces Dates, Location for 2011 Annual Business Meeting

TheAutomotive ServiceAssociation (ASA) has announced it will hold its next annual business meeting May 9-11, 2011, at the Gaylord National in Washington, D.C. Activities leading up to “Taking the Hill” Day will include open meetings of the ASA board of directors and affiliate assembly. Ron Pyle, ASA president and chief staff executive, will deliver a stateof-the-association address. Be sure to visit the Events section on ASA’s website, www.ASAshop.org, for the latest details. Online registration for the event is slated to launch this fall.

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Pacific Collision Centers

product specifically, testing our product and a competitor’s for three months to see which would give him the highest quality. In the end, he continued working with us, and Steve said he avoided a grave mistake by sticking with us. We proved ourselves to him and that was all he needed.” Downey believes that customers appreciate the greening of the industry in using waterborne paint and that body shops can leverage that approval to get more business, he said. “In Southern California, peo-

ple are very aware of the green movement, because the media is always talking about it. They’re very informed about what’s going on with the environment around here, so they do care. Will people gravitate toward shops that will be greener? Based on my experience, yes, so we all win.” Where will Vettel and Pacific Collision Centers be in five years? “We’re operating in what’s been referred to as the ‘New Normal’ in collision repair. I think today’s business environment requires you to have the ability to change and adapt quickly and that requires a very fluid five-year plan. I wish I could pinpoint where we’re headed, but I can’t. I believe there will be a certain

amount of attrition in the collision repair business. It’s an uncertain time in this industry, right now, but we’ll know a lot more in the next 12-18 months.”

Pacific Collision Centers 1621 Orangethorpe Avenue Fullerton, California 92831 (714) 888-9000 www.pacificcollision.com

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Toyota Recalls Lexus HS 250h Hybrid

Toyota’s luxury division Lexus is recalling its first hybrid-only model, the HS 250h, due to a problem with its fuel system. Toyota will recall 17,000 2010 Lexus HS 250h vehicles after discovering excess fuel leakage during rear-impact crash tests. During an impact that involves the car rotating 90 degrees, an excessive amount of fuel can leak out and, if ignited, result in a fire. The automaker has not identified a remedy for the problem. Toyota filed the recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration June 25, owners can call Lexus at 800-255-3987 or NHTSA’s hot line at 888327-4236 for more information.

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www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 27


Service, Service, Diagnostic Diiagnostic D gnostic and an nd d Mechanical M e chanical ch aniccal al NEWS Mec echanical Mech ech ec hanical ca

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ECO-Friendly Auto Center in Oakland Park, FL, Offers Customers the Ultimate in Environmentally Friendly Mechanical Services Western Edition

by Erica Schroeder

When Sully Dawson opened ECOFriendly Auto Center in Oakland Park, FL 3 months ago he wanted to leave no environmental stone unturned.

CALIFORNIA • NEVADA • ARIZONA

maintenance like oil changes and tire repairs but does not do any body work. According to Dawson the shop recycles everything possible including, metal, batteries and paper. The shop also uses Safety-Kleen’s recycling service which takes their used oil and antifreeze, cleans it and returns it to the shop for reuse. ECO-Friendly also provides customers with the option of using G-Oil Green Motor Oil. G-Oil is made from an-

The shop also sells other biodegradeable automotive necessities; from engine

August 2010

Dawson also believes in being a spokesperson for shops implementing more environmentally conscious techniques in

One of the empty bays and lifts

Sully Dawson outside the front of ECO-Friendly Auto Center

The auto center's front desk area

degreasers to car wax to window cleaners, customers can find everything they need to be environmentally conscious when it comes to their vehicles. ECO-Friendly uses low VOC cleaners in all of their processes and their wash

“I made a conscious effort to be green from the inception,” said Dawson, “I took the best of everything I could find out there.” The 6,000 square-foot shop has 3 employees and sees about 350 cars a month. ECO-Friendly has only been open for about 3 months, but Dawson anticipates the repair shop will bring in about

A vehicle up on one of the lifts

Customers in the front desk waiting room area

$400,000 this year. The shop does major mechanical repair work as well as regular

imal fat and is completely biodegradeable. ECO-Friendly is the only shop in the state of Florida to offer this option which is American Petroleum Institute certified. According to Dawson, G-Oil is a little more expensive but well worth the cost. He also said he is seeing that about half of his customers coming in are making the switch from regular motor oil to G-Oil.

SCRS Announces Newest Corporate Member: VW

Volkswagen of America, Inc., a well-known manufacturer of passenger vehicles, is the latest organization to show support of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) by becoming a corporate member. Corporate membership is only the most recent stage in the relationship between Volkswagen and SCRS. The alliance between the two organizations took on another dimension when Volkswagen revealed their plans to initiate a collision repair certifica-

tion program for dealership and independent body shops. SCRS members provided direct feedback on proposed specifications for tools, training, technology, parts usage, and facility requirements. They participated in the review and critique of specific program materials, as well. "SCRS is pleased we were able to offer the national perspective and credibility a wellrecognized OEM like Volkswagen was look-

28 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

Sully Dawson working on a customers car

system is Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved. “These things are easy,” said Dawson, “it’s all about what we can do now for our kids and our grandkids.” ing for in their program launch," says SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. "The ultimate winner here is our mutual customer, the vehicle owner, who will benefit from consistent safe, quality repairs. It is always a great opportunity when industry organizations such as SCRS and Volkswagen support each other through their pool of resources. We wish them continued success as they move forward in advancing the industry."

the workplace. ECO-Friendly is currently working on their Green Certification through the state of Florida; after the shop gains this honor Dawson will be working on writing a guide for other shop owners on how to implement green technologies simply and cost-effectively in their own shops. “Part of my job is informing people, especially my customers,” said Dawson. ECO-Friendly is also very proud to be considered female and child friendly with a kids play area, cafe and WiFi offered in the waiting area. Any questions can be referred directly to Dawson through his email; sully199@gmail.com. More information about Eco-Friendly Auto Center can be found on their websites at ecofriendlyautocenter.com and ecofriendlyautocenter.net. ECO-Friendly Auto Center 1139 E. Commercial Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334 (954) 581- 1747

Feds Investigating Mazda3, BMW Z4 for Steering Problems

The government is opening investigations into possible power steering problems in Mazda3 passenger cars and BMW Z4 sports cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened investigations of possible loss of power steering in more than 290,000 Mazda3 sedans from the 2007-2009 model years and nearly 50,000 BMW Z4 sports cars from the 2003-2005 model years. Probes may or may not lead to recalls.


Vehicle Mix is Dramatically Changing Aftermarket, Strong June Sales by Jim Lang, Lang Marketing

Ten Year Shift The mix of light vehicles on U.S. roads changed significantly over the last ten years.

Domestic Cars Down Domestic cars (not including transplants) represented the largest share of light vehicles on U.S. roads during 1999, nearly 40%, but plunged to second in 2009 share, at only 28%. Light Trucks Gain Domestic light trucks substantially increased their vehicle share between 1999 and 2009, climbing from 31% of the 1999 market to 34% of the 2009 population.

Foreign Vehicles Increase Foreign cars (imports and transplants) expanded their vehicle share in the U.S between 1999 and 2009, increasing from 23% to 27%.

Foreign Light Truck Share Up 85% Although representing the smallest segment of light vehicles in operation during 2009, foreign light trucks posted a large percentage share gain between 1999 and 2009, soaring from 6% to 11% of light ve-

hicles, nearly an 85% share surge.

Greater Change Over the Next Eight Years Lang Marketing projects seismic swings in U.S. vehicle mix between 2009 and 2016.

Domestic Cars Sink Domestic cars will sink to only one-fifth, 20%, of light vehicles in the United States by 2016, a mere half their 1999 market share and down nearly one-third from 28% of the 2009 vehicle mix. Domestic Light Trucks Gain Domestic Light Trucks will inch-up to 35% of vehicles on U.S. roads during 2016, a gain from 34% of the 2009 market and 31% of 1999 vehicles in operation.

Foreign Cars Soar Foreign cars will account for nearly onethird of vehicles on U.S. roads during 2016, 32%, over one-third more than their 23% share of the 1999 market and up sharply from 27% of the 2009 U.S. vehicle population.

Foreign Light Truck Share Doubles Foreign Light Trucks will more than double their share of vehicles in the U.S. between 1999 and 2016, soaring from 6% to 13% of vehicles in operation.

Aftermarket Impact The 2017 aftermarket will be a different world than the aftermarket of 1999 because of these tectonic shifts in major segments of the vehicle population. Domestic cars and light trucks (not including transplants) will sink to 55% of vehicles on the road by 2017, down from 71% of the 1999 population. This will greatly diminish the 63% aftermarket product volume generated by domestic cars and light trucks during 2009.

Soaring Foreign Vehicle Aftermarket Foreign cars and light trucks (imports and transplants) will account for 45% of vehicles in operation by 2017, up over 50% from their 29% share of the 1999 aftermarket. This will super-charge foreign vehicle aftermarket product growth over the next eight years. Aftermarket Sweet-Spot Vehicles in the so-called aftermarket repair sweet-spot (five to ten years old) will be dominated by foreign vehicles by 2017. Foreign models will account for more than 53% of cars and light trucks in this age parameter, up from less than 30% of the aftermarket repair sweet-spot in 1999.

Strong Sales Through June in Aftermarket

2010 is Packing the Strongest Sales Punch the Aftermarket Has Seen in Years Following two years of car and light truck product contraction (2008 sales down 1.9% and 2009 off 0.4%), 2010 is shapingup as a strong turn-around year for the light vehicle aftermarket. Annual light vehicle 2010 product percentage growth, at user-price, could top anything recorded since 1998.

Foreign Vehicles Lead the Way Foreign vehicles (imports and transplants) continue to drive car and light truck product expansion in the U.S. aftermarket. Lang Marketing projects foreign vehicle product volume will soar over 6.0% during 2010. However, some of this sales momentum will be cancelled-out by a much lower domestic car 2010 product rate.

Replacement Parts Growth The aging vehicle fleet and record number of cars and light trucks over twelve-yearsold on U.S. roads are ginning-up replacement parts volume to a pace not seen in over ten years. Contrary to car and light truck aftermarket product growth for the past ten See Vehicle Mix, Page 32

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 29


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Gonzo’s Toolbox

Thesa are new stories by Scott “Gonzo” Weaver as posted on his website, www.gonzostoolbox.com. Buy his book “Hey Look! I Found The Loose Nut”, which provides a Good Laugh for Mechanics of Any Age. The book is available at amazon.com. Contact Gonzo at Gonzosae@aol.com

Answering the Bell (‘I don’t got a gun’) and Remembering Old Sarge with Gonzo Weaver

On a warm spring afternoon about 15 years ago, my shop was busy with jobs. It was just another day, working ‘till it was quitting time. Even the phone seemed to have a pleasant ring that day. My wife, Le Ann, was in the office working on the daily office paper work. I was in the shop turning wrenches and humming to the always constant radio in the background. The shop was busy and things were going along without a hint of trouble. It was a story book day of blissful repairs. I even stopped for a moment to reflect on the wonderful day that it was… “Ah, it’s a fine day, a fine day indeed. Nothing could bother me today.” I looked outside at the street in front of the shop. Hmm, police cars… two of them, driving slowly. Then, in the far distance, I could hear more cars coming this way, sirens blazing away. I looked back just in the nick of time to see the two squad cars that were in front of the shop tear down the street at high speed. Then two more came from the opposite direction, slowing down just in front of the shop. I walked towards the garage door when suddenly a figure flew by me. This guy was on a flat out run for the furthest point away from those cop cars. You should have seen it; those cops were on this guy like a swarm of bees. The guy ducked around the corner with the cop cars in full pursuit. He didn’t stand a chance. Where’s the wife? I need to go tell her about all of this… why, this is exciting… I can’t wait to tell her. As I reached for the door knob to the front lobby, my wife threw open the door. She was so frantic she could hardly speak. “How could you leave me up here all by myself? Didn’t you hear me banging on the wall! I could have been killed,” gasping for breath as if it were her last. “Calm down honey,” I said, “It was nothing. Nothing at all, did you see that guy, and the cop cars?”

“Nothing? What do you mean NOTHING!” she shouted at me. “That guy came in all sweaty, sits down in the lobby chair, and tells me he just needs a rest. Then tells me he wants to give himself up, and wanted me to call the cops. There he is sitting there holding his shirt up and tells me “I don’t got a gun” what was I suppose to do…? I called the cops and kept banging on the wall trying to get you to come up front.” “Holy cow, dear,” I stood there in shock answering her, “Why didn’t you come and get me?” “Ya Big Baboon! I was on the phone! Who do you think was calling for all these cop cars,” she screamed at me. Her voice kept getting louder, and she was a total emotional wreck, but continued to tell me, “I couldn’t move, I had to talk to the cops, give them a description and the address, they kept telling me to stay on the line. I wanted to run out of there. The guy was out of breath and he didn’t look like he had an ounce of strength left. I tried banging on the wall thinking you would show up any minute. But, when this guy heard the sirens he took off again.” It’s about then I understood the seriousness of the “gangster in the lobby.” My poor wife was terrified. There was no way she was going to spend another minute up front without some way of getting our attention in the back of the shop. That afternoon I rigged up an $8.00 12volt doorbell from the hardware store with a two-prong turn signal flasher from a car. Now if someone comes in the flasher causes the door bell to “ding, ding, ding” ‘till the door closes. If the door buzzer doesn’t shut off in its usual pattern… drop the tools and run to the front... wife needs me. This crude door bell set up has been a part of our shop since that day. I’ve changed the flasher two or three times since then, but

Continued from Page 29

Despite slumping new light truck sales share (something which is hurting accessory volume), light trucks, both domestic and foreign, are playing a pivotal part in the current bounce-back in aftermarket product volume. Lang Marketing expects light trucks will achieve strong 2010 aftermarket product growth; however, the downturn in domestic car aftermarket product sales threatens to cancel most 2010 sales expansion by domestic light trucks.

Vehicle Mix

years, when soaring accessory volume provided most of the lift to light vehicle annual product sales, replacement parts are super-charging the current rise in aftermarket product volume. Accessories continue to struggle, particularly accessories for light trucks which had been (until 2008) the hottest accessory segment for the previous 20 years. Light Trucks Strong Growth Contributor

Domestic Vehicles Will Generate Over 60% of 2010 Aftermarket Product Sales Despite the poor 2010 aftermarket product

32 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

not the bell. I’m guessing it’s about 15 years old by now, but it still works perfectly. I also installed a louder bell with an emergency button in several locations just in case the first “ding” didn’t get my attention. I’m sure, if I hadn’t installed the door dinger that afternoon, I would have been spending a lot of sleepless nights on the couch. As they say… when one door closes another one opens…this time I can hear it open, thanks to a ‘dingy’ bad guy with no gun. Wub ya honey, and yes it’s still true… it don’t get no better.

life, always cutting up with each other. One hot August afternoon Sarge brought in one of his other cars to get some work done. I had the back door to the shop open, and Sarge steps outside for a little fresh air. I thought I could hear the guy crying or mumbling something, couldn’t tell which it was. I stuck my head around the corner, “Sarge, ah …. you OK, buddy?” I asked. He proceeded to tell me how the house he grew up in was close by, before it became a shopping center. He talked about his dad and family, and how he used to hunt rabbits right where we were standing. It was during the Depression. Hard times. Things were scarce in those days. How his dad hid a pig in a pit, not too far from here. Where they kept the corn mash for making bootleg moon shine. I sat and listened to this hardened Marine tell me his life’s story that day, from his first car to how he ended up in the Corps. I didn’t answer the phone, or go up front to see if anyone came in. I just sat out there in that August heat, drenched in sweat, listening to this fella tell me the long and fascinating story. I’ll never forget that afternoon. I’ll also never forget how every time he came to my shop over the next 25 years he would sneak up on me, and yell in a drill instructor voice, “TEN HUT!” I would snap to attention just like a good Marine should. Sometimes, just to get a rise out of Sarge I would purposely hit my head on the hood of the car I was working on. He got a kick out of it every time. Sarge passed away a couple years back. I still think about him now and then. I hope he’s up there hunting rabbits, or something. Maybe he’s guarding the gates like every Marine hopes to be doing when their time comes. Or, he could be just waiting there to try and surprise me with one more “TEN HUT” when I show up. So long Sarge. I miss having you around the shop.

sales performance of domestic cars, domestic vehicles will account for approximately 62% of total car and light truck 2010 aftermarket product volume, according to Lang Marketing’s latest projections.

Although 2010 aftermarket sales have been strong through June, sales expansion is not equally distributed across all market sectors and participants.

Old Sarge I met this great man through his son, who happened to be the driver of the Chevy van (from the furniture store, for those who have read my book) who was my very first customer. Sarge isn’t his real name, but that’s what I called him. He was a retired Marine Corps cook. I met him one day when he came in with a sick Cadillac. The old Cadillac hardly had any power at all; just as slow and lazy as a snail. I had only been in business for a few months, and didn’t know anybody or have any work history to speak of, so even though it wasn’t an electrical problem (as he originally thought), I jumped right in and found the problem. It was a clogged catalytic converter. Unbelievably, it wasn’t even welded in place. I could take off the clamps, and remove it without much hassle. Back then I didn’t have a lift to put the car in the air, so I had to do the whole job on the ground. Well, old Sarge just sat there and watched me do the whole thing. I think he was a little suspicious of this skinny little white kid who was hacking away at his car, but he patiently waited, being the good man he was. We got to talking about things, and it wasn’t long before he found out that I was also in Marine Corps. Now we had some common ground. We were buds for

Not All Market Sectors Sharing Growth In addition to product growth by foreign vehicles and replacement parts in the 2010 aftermarket, the Service (DIFM) market is performing much stronger than Do-ItYourself volume; while Integrated and Import channels of distribution are outperforming the other major light vehicle product channels during the first half of 2010.

'From Aftermarket Insight™ by Jim Lang, President of Lang Marketing Resources, Inc., www.langmarketing.com.'

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ALL OEM Information with Tom McGee and Jeffrey Webster

Tom McGee is National Account Manager for ALLDATA Collision. He has had a long career with I-CAR, including as President & CEO. Tom is an ASE certified Master Collision Repair/Refinish Technician. He has also run his own collision facility and been a career and technical school instructor. He can be reached at Tom.McGee@alldata.com. For other Tom McGee articles in Autobody News, go to: http://www.autobodynews.com/tom-mcgee/index.php — JEFF WEBSTER is an ALLDATA Technical Writer.

Corvette Re-Initialization Procedures

The most basic vehicles today are pretty much computers on wheels. The more sophisticated the car, the more computers and systems that need to be re-initialized each time you work on them. The complexity and the confusion grows with each new model year. Take, for example, one of the icons of the American automobile industry, the Chevrolet Corvette. From 1953 to present, the Corvette has evolved into a remarkable machine. But, like any other vehicle on the road, Corvettes suffer collision damage, and upon repair, there are many systems that need to be re-initialized. ALLDATA Collision provides manufacturers’ (OE) collision and mechanical repair information for Corvettes, as well as the other makes and models you see in your shop. OE is the gold standard when it comes to collision repair. It provides an

this information to the vehicle subsystems via the class 2 communication bus.

Calibration Procedure 1. Apply the parking brake. 2. Place the transmission in the PARK position for automatic transmission or NEUTRAL for manual transmission. 3. Install a scan tool. 4. Clear all BCM DTCs before proceeding. 5. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF. 6. Navigate to the Vehicle Control Systems menu. 7. Select Computer/Integrating Systems menu item. 8. Select Module Setup menu item. 9. Select BCM menu item. 10. Select the BPP Sensor Calibration procedure and follow the directions displayed on the screen.

II. INFLATABLE RESTRAINT SENSING AND DIAGNOSTIC MODULE PROGRAMMING AND SETUP

indisputable blueprint for sectioning and working with new materials, such as ultra high strength steel, aluminum and advanced plastics. ALLDATA Collision also specifies re-initialization procedures for all those complex systems. Here are five initialization/calibration procedures for a 2009 Corvette:

I. BRAKE PEDAL POSITION SENSOR CALIBRATION Calibration Criteria Important: Do not apply the brake pedal during the brake pedal position sensor calibration procedure. Any movement of the brake pedal during this procedure will cause the calibration procedure to fail. If this occurs, the brake pedal position sensor (BPPS) calibration must be repeated.

Brake pedal position sensor calibration must be performed after the brake pedal position sensor or body control module (BCM) have been serviced. The calibration procedure will set brake pedal position sensor home value. This value is used by the BCM to determine the action of the driver applying the brake system and to provide

Important: The air bag indicator light may remain ON after the body control module (BCM), or sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) is replaced, and during the programming procedure for the BCM until after the procedure is completed, and the ignition key is cycled OFF and ON. If the SDM is replaced you must setup the new SDM part number in the BCM. With

a scan tool, select the SIR module setup. Select setup SDM Part Number in BCM and follow the on-screen instructions.

III. PASSENGER PRESENCE SYSTEM REZEROING

Introduction The Inflatable Restraints Passenger Presence System (PPS) is a calibrated system that requires rezeroing anytime the seat cushion trim attachments have been re-

moved or the PPS has been replaced. The procedures below are designed to assist in the rezeroing of the PPS. Before you start, read these procedures carefully and completely. For further information regarding the PPS refer to SIR System Description and Operation (See: Restraint Systems\Air Bag Systems\Description and Operation).

Important: The following procedures must be followed: 1. Read this procedure carefully and completely. 2. The PPS will not function properly if the PPS rezeroing procedure is not performed. 3. Perform the Diagnostic System Check Vehicle (See: Initial Inspection and Diagnostic Overview\Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle) after successfully completing the rezeroing procedure to ensure the system is functioning properly.

Passenger Presence System (PPS) Rezeroing Procedure Important: Before rezeroing the PPS, the front passenger seat must be completely empty of all items. The presence of any items on the front passenger seat will affect the calibration and operation of the PPS. Important: When rezeroing the PPS, the instrument panel cluster (IPC) and dash lights will begin dimming ON and FF. This is normal operation during the rezeroing procedure and does not indicate additional system faults. 1. Empty the front outboard passenger seat. 2. Verify that all SIR and PPS components, connectors, and connector position assurances (CPAs) are properly connected and mounted. 3. Install a scan tool. 4. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF. Important: All SIR and PPS DTCs must be cleared before rezeroing the PPS. The presence of current or history DTCs will prevent the PPS from rezeroing and may set additional DTCs. 5. Use the scan tool in order to clear the SIR and PPS DTCs. 6. With a scan tool, request the PPS rezeroing procedure. 7. Initiate the PPS rezeroing procedure. The PPS will illuminate both PASSENGER AIR BAG ON and OFF indicators until the rezeroing procedure has been completed. • When the rezeroing procedure has been successfully completed, the PPS will display the current system status by

using either the PASSENGER AIR BAG ON or OFF indicator. • If the rezeroing procedure was unsuccessful, both PASSENGER AIR BAG ON and OFF indicators will alternate from no illumination to full illumination in 1 second intervals for 5 seconds. The PPS will treat an unsuccessful rezero attempt as a system fault. 8. If the rezeroing procedure was unsuccessful, repeat this procedure. Due to the communication status between the SDM and the PPS module, this procedure may have to be repeated until a successful rezero attempt has been achieved. 9. After the PPS has been successfully rezeroed, perform the Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle (See: Initial Inspection and Diagnostic Overview\Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle). IV. POWER WINDOW RE-INITIALIZATION The re-initialization of the power windows will be necessary anytime a door module has been disconnected, replaced, or the vehicles battery has been disconnected or discharged. The power window will be reinitialized when the door module learns the full up and full down positions.

To re-initialize a power window: 1. Close the door for the window being reinitialized. 2. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF. 3. Run the window to the full up position and hold the switch continuously for a minimum of 0.5 seconds. 4. Run the window to the full down position and hold the switch continuously for a minimum of 0.5 seconds.

V. TIRE PRESSURE INDICATOR SENSOR LEARN

Learn Mode Description The Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM) System uses the keyless entry transmitter, body control module (BCM), remote control See Corvette Re-Initialization, Page 43

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 33


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Ford Recalls Certain Model Year Transit Connect Vehicles

Ford is recalling certain model year 2010 transit connect vehicles manufactured from December 5, 2008 through May 31, 2010 for failing to meet the minimum federal safety requirements. Specifically, federal motor vehicle safety standard number 201, “Occupant Protection in Interior Impact.” During vehicle testing the vehicle exceeded head injury criteria requirements set by this standard. The headliner retention pushpin located on the headliner above the Bpillar trim on both the left and right side of the vehicles needs to be replaced. The consequence could result in an occupant at an increased risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash. Ford will notify owners and dealers will repair the vehicles free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin on or about July 19, 2010. Owners may contact Ford Motor Company at 1-866-436-7332. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236, or go to: www.safecar.gov.

Govt Panel Reviewing Vehicle Acceleration in Recalled Toyotas

As reported by the Associated Press, NHTSA said June 30 that it had not uncovered any electronic problems in runaway Toyotas as a scientific panel started work on an extensive study to determine what prompts some vehicles to suddenly accelerate. A National Academy of Sciences panel held its first meeting to review the potential causes of unintended acceleration in vehicles across the entire auto industry. The 12-member panel is expected to report its findings in 2011. David Strickland, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told the panel that his agency’s Toyota investigation was ongoing but had not determined any electronic connection to the problems. NHTSA engineers have been conducting a separate review of Toyota’s electronics. The teams hope to complete the study by late August. NHTSA officials said unintended acceleration in Toyotas may have been involved in the deaths of 93 people over the past decade. But Strickland said complaints of unwanted acceleration was not only a Toyota problem and asked the panel to review issues with electronic throttle controls and other vehicle electronics.

TRW's Collision Mitigation Braking Delivers City Driving Safety

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. has July 8 unveiled its Collision Mitigation Braking (CMB) technology which provides drivers with additional braking support in the event of an imminent collision with a moving or stationary object. The system is primarily designed for urban driving conditions including heavy traffic. The system uses a radar sensor to directly measure the distance and relative speed to objects in front of the host vehicle. If a potential collision is identified, a warning is triggered to alert the driver; this warning can be audible, visual or haptic. If the driver does not react to the warning and the system determines that a collision is likely to occur, a certain amount of brake pressure can be applied automatically to slow the vehicle and reduce the severity of the impact. If the driver does respond to the warning and depresses the brake pedal, the brake system will automatically provide maximum brake boost to slow the vehicle as quickly as possible and mitigate the collision. With the development of TRW’s 24GHz radar, this technology is now more affordable than ever. CMB technology has been designed with city traffic and traffic jams in mind. It is applied at close distance (6-7 meters

or 20-23 feet) where a 20 kph (12.4 mph) speed reduction by braking, with limited deceleration, can be achieved before the potential crash. Generally speaking, if relative speed to the approaching object is below 20kph, the function works to help avoid the collision, if it is above 20kph, the system will help to mitigate the impact of the collision. TRW’s 24GHz technology has a range of up to 150m (492 feet) and can also enable driver assistance functions such as Adaptive Cruise Control for a full range of driving conditions including high speed highway driving up to 160kph (99.4mph), so it is ideal for the needs of today’s mass market vehicles.

About TRW Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, USA, the Company, through its subsidiaries, operates in 26 countries and employs over 60,000 people worldwide. TRW Automotive products include integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems (seat belts and airbags), electronics, engine components, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts and services. Please visit www.trw.com for more information.

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Parts for Profit 4—Developing Your Wholesale Business Partners

comes first—but you always get a better quality of business when you deal with Note the title of this article is Developing friends; not strangers. Your relationship will slowly develop Your Wholesale Partners, not your wholesale customer. until you find yourself greeting each other A customer is a person you see only a as friends, and not just as business associfew times a year. Someone who does busi- ates. At this point it will be a simple matter ness with you over and over again, on a to convert your friendship into a partnership. regular basis, is more than just a customer. All partnerships are based on trust. This person is more Having done business together, you will properly defined as a have developed a certain kind of trust in business partner. one another, since both parties should have The difference received exactly what they were looking is the relationship you for. You now know each other well enough have with each other. to advance to the next stage. The next A retail customer is stage of your relationship is being able to seldom known by complain about anything; without fear. name, and the comYou need to have the freedom of munications between speech that only comes from a good relaLarry Williams you are limited to the tionship. Then your business partner will business at hand. This person might be seen feel free to tell you about any minor probfour times a year; at most. A wholesale cus- lems—without the fear of harming your tomer on the other hand, will be heard from existing relationship. Your partner should several times each month. This repeat busi- be able to tell you that he likes one of your ness can create a relationship between you drivers better than another, and he should that is more than just business. I define it as be able to warn you if your competition a partnership. This is the best relationship tries to get his business. This sense of freeyou can have with another business. dom develops only in a solid relationship. In a partnership, both parties rely on the Your benefit will be that you will have other to do their part, and trust the other com- the opportunity to learn about any issues pletely. A partnership is hard to establish, but while they are still easy to fix. You will aleven harder to sever. In your business, I rec- ways need to fine-tune your operation. ommend that you work hard to establish the Everyone gets into a rut now and then, since philosophy of partnership. If you follow this no one wants to be the one who changes philosophy, and think of your best customers things. And everyone wants their work-day as partners, you will never lose them. And to progress without any problems—one most of your wholesale business will de- which is filled with normal duties and that velop from customers, to partners. is easy to handle and manage. The problem Here are some thoughts on develop- with this is stagnation, or a lack of growth. ing relationships: If your people are content, and happy with their jobs, they will probaIt all begins with a name. bly want that situation to continue for as long as posAlways offer yours first. sible; without any changes. Relationships are all different—de- These people will not advise you of any pending on the individuals involved, but problems that they encounter, or of the need all of them have one thing in common. for change. Only your best customers will They are based on knowing one another on feel secure enough to tell you about any exa basis that is much deeper than the sur- isting problems that you should know about face level of “business only.” and handle while they are still small enough It all begins with a name. Always offer to deal with effectively. yours first. Keep offering your name until Treat your best customers as if they the other person starts to use it. It continues were “extensions” of your own shop. Try to with the sharing of information other than consider their needs as much as you do your business only. Again, this must start with own. These people need to know that their you. Just a simple remark about the business is appreciated. The way that you weather, sports, or anything other than car show your appreciation is with recognition. parts, can be an easy opening. Remember, Always be sure to tell them that you value when you talk with a friend, you don’t just their friendship as well as their business. talk about business; you talk about your life. The final step is to visit your partners, Use compliments, but only when appropri- in order to see how they manage their shops. ate. Make sure that your tone of voice is al- You will always come away with fresh ideas ways positive, and be sure to control the for your own operation. Talk to these peoemotions on your side of the conversation. ple about how you can help them. RememYou need to be honest, friendly, and open. ber, any repair will go faster, and much more None of this is to take precedence smoothly, when all aspects have been propover taking care of business. Business erly coordinated—parts, repair, and paint. by Larry Williams

36 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

to parts; labor and paint must also be adjustable. The only rule is that the total must always stay the same. When everything is done, and your customer is happy and gone, there often seems to be something “extra” left over. Any parts that go on the outside of the vehicle are considered salable items, and are easily returned for credit. Interior parts are another matter. They are either structural members or trim. They are color sensitive, and very difficult to keep on the shelf. These “extra” parts are often considered by the body shop to be profits. To the parts manBody repair is unique in one they are loss items. respect—the total of the repair will ager The best solution I have always match the estimate, exactly. come up with is to give a 50% credit on these items. come back again. This is the same result that This still leaves a profit for the body shop, and allows the parts to sit at the dealership you strive to obtain in your own shop. Now I must discuss a thorny issue. until the next obsolescence return; with a Body repair is unique in one respect—the minimum investment from the dealer. With a partnership, there are no probtotal of the repair will always match the estimate, exactly. There can be more or less lems that cannot be solved. Each partner parts than originally estimated, different simply does his part to help the other be prices, adjustments to labor, etc., but the successful. Any group of businesses, total will always remain the same. You which include “partnership relationships,” need to be flexible—adjusting for price in- is unbeatable. Work this philosophy into creases which are not included in the orig- your business relationships and you will be inal estimate. Flexibility is not limited only around for a very long time.

It always helps to put a face with a voice. Invite your customer to visit your department, and introduce him to your people. You especially want to introduce him to your wholesale telephone personnel. Let your partner know your timeframe. He needs to be aware of your normal procedures; ordering times, delivery schedules, and your emergency order capabilities. Then you can work together, because both of you know the schedule that you want to adhere to. The end result will be that the retail customer will get a better repair, and

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www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 37


Company Connections

with Erica Schroeder

Erica Schroeder is a writer and editorial assistant for Autobody News in Oceanside, CA. She can be reached at eschroeder@autobodynews.com.

Matrix System Automotive Finishes Adds Low VOC and Waterborne Matrix System Automotive Finishes, a subsidiary of Quest Specialty Chemicals, not only provides painters with a wide array of primers, clearcoats and solvent-based paints, it now produces waterborne and other low-VOC paints. Founded in 1983, Matrix System employs over 115 full-time associates in a 52,000 square foot modern production facility in Commerce Township, MI. The corporate headquarters, warehouse and training facility are located in Walled Lake, MI.

The Commerce Township, MI facility

Matrix System became the first aftermarket paint manufacturer to introduce a successful intermix system of toners, pearls and companion products shortly after the company’s inception. All of Matrix System’s aftermarket clearcoats, primers, hardeners and reducers are produced in the United States—making it one of the last American-made paint companies. Aqualution™ is Matrix System’s new high performance waterborne basecoat system. Matrix System provides 66 Aqualution toners and pearls to provide maximum color matching capabilities. Aqualution is designed to meet future and current VOC requirements. Aqualution™ also provides easy application, quick coverage in less coats, faster cycle times, a smooth satin appearance and over 25,000 color possibilities. Aqualution™ does not require any new equipment since toners are simply shaken prior to use. Aqualution toners can be stored on common shelves at a constant temperature and minimal training is needed to work with Aqualution™ paints. “In most cases we’ve had people up and running within a few hours,” Ken Papich, Western Regional Manager for Matrix System, told Autobody News. Matrix System’s Aqualution™ waterborne paints are actually less expensive than their solvent-based counterparts, which is contrary to most other paint suppliers according to Papich. This is not only because Aqualution is provided as a shake and pour solution, but also because waterborne paints in general require less volume

than solvent equivalents to do the same quality job. “It’s actually an economical solution for many of our customers,” said Papich. Because Aqualution takes advantage of existing technologies shops gain the benefits of utilizing time tested materials developed specifically to maximize coverage, reduce cycle times and decrease material requirements. Since many car manufacturers are getting on board with waterborne paints and using them in the manufacturing process, cars are coming from the factory with waterborne as their original paint. A lot of body shops have also gotten on board with waterborne to synch up with these factory standards. If a customer is not ready to make the complete switch to waterborne quite yet but would like to use lower VOC count products, Matrix System also provides solvent-based clearcoats and primers that have low VOC counts. “AccuShade LV gives our customers a choice; an alternative to waterborne if they’re not ready to completely convert,” said Papich. The AccuShade LV line is a low VOC solvent basecoat system, most of the paints in this system hit VOC levels below 2.1. AccuShade LV consists of a conversion binder and a low VOC reducer. With the AccuShade LV line customers don’t have to use any new equipment or go through any training—customers can use the same technology and equipment used to mix and spray the regular solvent based systems for the low VOC option.

Aqualution shake and pour toners

Customers using Matrix System’s AccuShade Intermix System have the ability to get the best quality match while still conserving time and left over paint without a reactive reducer. The AccuShade Intermix System makes finding the right formulas for the right colors quick and easy with the AccuShade Color Retrieval System. It uses 120 toners and pearls to ensure color matching capabilities from a database cataloging over 35 years of domestic, foreign and fleet formulas. The system is also capable of mixing the MPB, MSB, RSB, FX

38 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

Series Custom Colors, Single Stage and AccuShade LV paints in one system with the ability to produce over 98,000 colors with exact formulas. From primers to their FX Series custom paints and from fisheye eliminator to their QuickFix Aerosols, Matrix System provides everything shops need to complete a paint job from start to finish with accurate results. Along with its “greener” paint options, Matrix System has also been taking other steps in their offices and manufacturing centers to reduce their environmental impact. According to Papich, about a year ago Matrix System reduced the number of monthly paper mailings and faxes they sent out by switching over to electronic versions of the information and sending them via email. Matrix System has also concentrated

efforts towards a leaner business strategy by consolidating some operations in their manufacturing centers. It has a separate wa-

terborne paint manufacturing section in their production facility; this way processes can run more efficiently because everything doesn’t have to be completely cleaned and retooled between manufacturing solvent and manufacturing waterborne.

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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). He can be contacted by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.

Industry Insight

Voices of IBIS—The Annual International Body Shop Conference with John Yoswick

Organizers of the annual International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS), face a difficult assignment: bringing together two days of presentations on industry issues that will be of interest and value to a diverse group of attendees—insurers, repairers and industry vendors—hailing from about two dozen different countries. The 10th annual IBIS, held in London in June, included as many presenters from outside the industry as it did collision repair experts. The goal, conference director David Lingham said, was to offer some fresh perspectives and a look at how comparable issues are being addressed in other industries. Here is a wrap-up of some of the more striking and interesting comments and insights offered from the IBIS podium this year.

Future view of the OEMs Prof. David Bailey, an automotive analyst with the Coventry Business School in the United Kingdom said that despite the growing interest in electric-powered vehicles, collision repairers can expect to see plenty of diesel and gas powertrains for the

foreseeable future. Even by 2020, he predicted, only about one-third of new cars will have electric powertrains. Although 10 automakers currently account for about 75 percent of the vehicles currently being produced, Bailey said he expects to see even further consolidation among automakers through mergers, acquisitions and alliances (such as OEMs sharing more jointly-developed platforms across multiple auto lines). Some automakers may get out of the assembly process altogether, he said, focusing on developing and branding vehicles that are actually manufactured by suppliers.

The challenge of non-OEM parts Although Jack Gillis, the executive director of the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA), spoke on a variety of topics at this year’s IBIS, he touched on the latest non-OEM parts controversy surrounding non-OEM bumper reinforcement bars and other structural parts. He showed a video of some of the crash testing CAPA has done of such parts.

One non-OEM bumper energy absorber visually appeared to match its OEM counterpart well, even down to the marking indicating what type of plastic it was made from. But lab testing showed the nonOEM part was actually made from a different type of plastic. When crash tested at 6.1 mph, the OEM absorber deformed but sprang back, with only a small amount of crushing and cracking; in the same test, the non-OEM version shattered. “We’ve had a very difficult time finding aftermarket bumpers that are actually the same as the car company bumpers that get produced,” Gillis said at IBIS. Standardized estimating reduces charges Richard Nathschlager, who oversees Audatex in Central and Eastern Europe, offered IBIS attendees an overview of the industry in such countries as Poland and Russia. But perhaps the most striking statement in his presentation came during his discussion of Romania, a country in which insurers are just now establishing repair shop networks to handle the ap-

proximately one million insurance claims filed each year. Audatex, Nathschlager said, introduced its products in Romania starting in 2005, and already nine of the country’s top 10 insurers are using it and requiring shops to do so as well. The impact, he said, has been dramatic. “What happened was not very funny, not very nice for the repairers, because (repair costs) went down by 20 percent,” Nathschlager said. He said some shops, however, have seen as much as a 50 percent increase in volume for those lower prices. “This is a good example of how a standard can work and help both parties involved in the business,” Nathschlager said. “Romania shows that establishing our system in a market brings both parties together. We create common language. We create a standard. We have a common understanding now.” Finding common ground is key Viewing the common interests that shops See Voices of IBIS, Page 42

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www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 41


Collision Centers Get More “Green” From Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Collision centers that work with Enterprise Rent-A-Car may get more than they expected when it comes to going “green.” In addition to repair center customers driving off in some of the most fuel efficient rental cars on the road today, paperless technology helps streamline the rental car process between collision repair centers, insurance companies and Enterprise. In terms of going “green,” it’s a win-win situation for everyone. With the world’s largest fleet of fuel efficient vehicles, Enterprise is helping reduce the nation’s carbon footprint and giving more drivers the opportunity to experience fuel efficient vehicles. Nearly 450,000 cars in the combined fleet of Enterprise, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car average a highway fuel efficiency rating of at least 28 mpg; nearly 230,000 average 32 mpg or better; and nearly 425,000 have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay certification mark – a distinction the EPA grants to vehicles that emit relatively low levels of both regulated pollutants and

greenhouse gases such as CO2. To reduce paperwork, as well as lower costs, save time and enhance service with insurance companies and car owners, Enterprise offers free of charge to collision centers the ARMS® Automotive and ARMS® Automotive Exchange applications. Widely recognized as two of the most effective tools available to the collision repair industry, ARMS® Automotive updates the status of car repairs, while ARMS® Automotive Exchange automates labor hours and provides free cycle time reporting. Powered by CynCast Data Pump, the ARMS® Automotive applications work with a repair center’s estimating and/or management system to automatically “push” certain repair information to Enterprise via an EMS (estimate management software) file. In addition to making the replacement rental process more efficient, ARMS® Automotive applications protect the security of the repair

centers’ data and computer systems. The technology collects only the data contained in the EMS file directory, which is the industry standard designed for sharing estimate files between different computer systems and trading partners. Fuel efficient vehicles and paperless technology applications are just two of initiatives Enterprise has embraced as part of its environmental stewardship platform, which is the most comprehensive in its industry. “We know that more and more consumers expect the companies that serve them to share their concerns about the environment. For our company and our industry to be successful, we must address those concerns while also working to sustain our business over the long term,” said Andrew C. Taylor, chairman and CEO of Enterprise Holdings, which operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand. “To that end, Enterprise is investing in the latest tech-

nologies to minimize fuel consumption and related emissions, today and tomorrow.” Taylor said the company’s efforts to reduce fuel consumption and related emissions are as much about sustaining Enterprise’s business as they are about sustaining the environment. “We have always managed our business for the long term, and we are taking that same long-term approach here,” he said. “Taking care of the environment is the right thing to do, but for Enterprise it is more than that; very simply, it is a business imperative if we are to continue to run our business and serve consumers successfully into the future. “We want our customers to know that when they choose Enterprise, they get more than just a rental car. They also are getting our commitment to making a positive difference in those parts of the world we touch with our business, now and in the future,” Taylor said. Additional information about the ARMS® Automotive applications is available from Frank LaViola at Enterprise, Frank.R.Laviola@erac.com.

Continued from Page 40

the United Kingdom. Leach discussed how airline pressures to get and keep planes flying sometimes comes into conflict with need for safety, maintenance and repair work and inspections. Leach was asked, for example, about how if collision repair standards were established in the United States, current technical and commercial practices—and the sometimes seemingly conflicting desires of shops and insurers—can be balanced. “You’re talking about a cultural shift.” Leach acknowledged. “One of the key phrases we often hear is, ‘If you want me to be safe, I can’t get the aircraft out on time.’ So we’re almost holding safety up against commercial pressure. The challenge is to get everyone to actually recognize that if you get it right the first time, it’s going to help you with your business case anyway. You’ve got to shift people’s paradigms so they align safety and business in the same breath. Because they really are the same.”

“That is very difficult,” Bercow said. “You’ve got to decide whether the collective reputation of your industry depends upon uniformity. If within a particular sector, different companies think the rules mean different things, that

is a recipe for some conflict and it’s very difficult to then claim there is an industry standard.” One key to consensus building, he said, is to establish a timeframe under which all sides agree to produce a result.

Voices of IBIS

and insurers share was also one message brought to IBIS by Prof. David Bland, the former director general of the Chartered Insurance Institute in the United Kingdom. Clearly more of an expert and advocate for insurers, Bland also did not hold back from being critical of such practices as that of some U.S. insurers to “cash out” policyholders by giving them a check and “just saying go get (their car) fixed.” “That is not high standards in the insurance industry, and part of what people in every industry have to do is hold the others in their industry to uphold standards,” Bland said. Bland was also asked about ways to bridge the gap that often seems to separate repairers and insurers. He said shops should be “completely transparent, especially in costing and billing, and then you can challenge the insurers to do the same.” Both sides, he said, must reach “an understanding that by networking together you can both gain business advantage and cost-effectiveness.” “If both sides are seen as having proper standards and ethical dealings with each other, and are not trying to chisel each other’s market share or market return, then you begin to build a basis of confidence on which you can go forward,” Bland said. “There’s no better way.” Similar pressures in aircraft industry One of the IBIS speakers who clearly brought some perspectives from a parallel industry was Howard Leach, head of operations of the aircraft safety academy in

The reputation of the “greater industry” Also asked to speak at IBIS about how to bring together those with conflicting views was John Bercow, a British lawmaker who last year was elected Speaker of the House of Commons. Bercow, the 157th Speaker in Britain’s long history, drew laughs at the start of his presentation by acknowledging that although his 5-foot-6inch stature ranks him among the shortest people to hold the title, there were some shorter speakers in centuries past—at least after they were beheaded. Bercow was asked how an industry in which stakeholders such as shops and insurers may prefer that different standards be established can bring those disparate views to common ground.

42 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com


Continued from Page 33

Corvette Re-Initialization

door lock receiver (RCDLR), 4 radio frequency transmitting pressure sensors, and the serial data circuit to perform the TPM learn mode functions. The sensor learn procedure must be performed after every tire rotation, RCDLR replacement, or sensor replacement. Once the learn mode has been enabled, each of the sensors unique identification codes can be learned into the RCDLRs memory. When a sensor ID has been learned, the RCDLR sends a serial data message to the BCM to sound a horn chirp. This verifies the sensor has transmitted its ID and the RCDLR has received and learned it. The RCDLR must learn the sensor IDs in the proper sequence to determine correct sensor location. The first learned ID is assigned to the left front location, the second to right front, the third to right rear and the fourth to left rear.

Sensor Functions Using J-46079 Each sensor has an internal low frequency coil. When the J-46079 Tire Pressure Monitor Diagnostic Tool is used in activate mode, it produces a low frequency transmission that activates the sensor. The sensor responds to an low frequency activation by transmitting in learn mode. When the RCDLR receives a learn mode

transmission while in TPM learn mode, it will assign that sensors ID to the location on the vehicle relative to the order in which it was learned.

Learn Mode Cancellation The learn mode will cancel if the ignition is cycled to OFF or if more than 2 minutes has elapsed for any sensor that has not been learned. If the learn mode is cancelled, the original sensor IDs will be maintained. If the learn mode is cancelled after any sensor is learned, the DIC will display dashes instead of tire pressures for the remaining unlearned sensors and the learn procedure will need to be repeated for the system to function properly. TPM Learn Procedure Important: Before proceeding, ensure that no other learn procedure is being performed simultaneously or that tire pressures are not being adjusted on another TPM equipped vehicle within close proximity. Stray signals from other TPM equipped vehicles just driving by can be inadvertently learned. If any random horn chirps are heard from the vehicle while performing the learn procedure, most likely a stray sensor has been learned and the procedure will need to be cancelled and repeated. Under these circumstances, performing the TPM Learn Procedure away from other vehicles would be highly

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recommended. In the event a particular sensor activation does not cause the horn to chirp, it may be necessary to rotate the wheel valve stem to a different position due to the sensor signal is being blocked by another component. 1. Place the electronic keyless ignition in the ACCY position.

4. After the horn chirp has sounded, repeat step 3 for the remaining 3 sensors in the following order: • Right front • Right rear • Left rear 5. After the LR sensor has been learned, a double horn chirp will sound indicating all sensors have been learned. 6. Place the electronic keyless ignition in the OFF position to exit the learn mode. After the learn mode has been exited, adjust all tires to the recommended pressures.

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2. Using a scan tool, initiate the TPM Learn Mode. A horn chirp will sound indicating the Learn Mode has been enabled. 3. Starting with the left front tire, hold the antenna of the J-46079 aimed upward against the tire sidewall close to the wheel rim at the valve stem location. Press and release the activate button and wait for a horn chirp.

©2010 ALLDATA LLC. All rights reserved. All technical information, images and specifications are from ALLDATA Collision. ALLDATA is a registered trademark and ALLDATA Collision is a mark of ALLDATA LLC. All other brand names and marks are the property of their respective holders. Acura, Acura TL and Honda are registered trademark names and model designations of Honda Motor Company, LTD. and/or American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Cadillac and Cadillac CTS are registered trademark names and model designations of General Motors. Lexus, LX 570 and Techstream are registered trademark names and model designations of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. All trademark names and model designations are being used solely for reference and application purposes.

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Ford Improves SYNC, Drivers Get Alternatives to Hand-Held Texting

As the issue of texting while driving grows in prominence nationally, Ford Motor Company is expanding its SYNC technology with new features to give drivers safer alternatives to hand-held texting and keep them more focused on the road. To help make the in-car connection safer, Ford is improving the SYNC text message readback feature and empowering drivers with a “Do Not Disturb” button so they can decide the level of connectivity and communications they want to manage while in the car. Ford is also taking the proactive step to “lockout” capabilities that are not relevant to the task of driving while the vehicle is in motion. Ford will offer the new features on 2011 model year vehicles equipped with MyFord or MyLincoln Touch, the driver connect technology that provides drivers personalized access to information and entertainment through voice control, touch screens and familiar five-way controls mounted on the steering wheel. Ford has also proactively designed the MyFord and MyLincoln Touch driver connect system to give drivers more control of how they manage communications while in the car. Screens can be personalized to display information relevant to an

individual driver using a simple button click, voice command or touch-screen tap. The new 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX will be first to offer the “Do Not Disturb” button. This handy feature blocks incoming phone calls or text messages from a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone paired with SYNC; diverting calls into voicemail and saving text messages on the device for viewing later. But unlike turning the phone off, drivers can still make voice-activated outgoing phone calls, if they so decide, and the SYNC 911 Assist feature can make a call to 911 in case of emergency. In addition, Ford continues to limit access to a variety of communication features while the vehicle is in motion, thus encouraging drivers to use voice commands if they wish to access the function. Ford is also taking the proactive step of locking out or limiting content and capabilities of MyFord Touch that are not related to the task of driving when the vehicle is in motion, for instance: screens with information not intended to be used by the driver while driving such as SIRIUS Travel Link sports scores, movie listings and ski conditions; any action that requires typing on a keypad; and limiting lists of navigation and phone choices that the user can view to fewer entries.

Nationwide Study Shows Dangers of Distracted Driving

Thirty-eight percent of drivers said they have been hit or nearly hit by a driver distracted by a cell phone, according to a new survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Despite the fact that many people have experienced an accident or close call as a result of driver distraction, more than one in four admit to using phone applications while driving. The problem encompasses more than just the use of cell phones for calling and texting, according to the survey. GPS devices, Internet and use of smart phone applications are also major causes of driver distraction. Nearly four out of 10 drivers have in-car technology such as a DVD player or video monitor (17 percent), music search (14 percent), hands-free phone calling capabilities (13 percent), GPS (13 percent), and Internet access (2 percent). Smart phone applications for Twitter and Facebook are extremely popular, according to the survey. “Social networking has become an obsession for many people, but it’s critical that people not try to do it while driving. No post or tweet is so important it’s worth losing your life over,” Bill Windsor, Nationwide’s associate vice president for consumer safety. The phone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted in June. To view and print the entire survey, go to nationwide.com/dwd.

Toyota Received Complaints About Lexus Defect in 2007

According to reports made by Bloomberg, Toyota Motor Corp. received complaints more than three years ago about engine problems that sparked recalls of more than 100,000 Lexus and Toyota vehicles in Asia this month. The carmaker received the first customer complaints in March 2007 in Japan regarding defective valve springs that may cause engines to stall, Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said by phone July 6 from Tokyo. The problem occurs when foreign substances enter the material used to make the part, causing the spring to weaken and break, Tokyo-based spokeswoman Monika Saito said. While Toyota decided to address the problem in August 2008 by altering the design of the valve spring and making it thicker, the company didn’t feel that a recall was necessary given the rarity of the problem at the time. The company will recall 91,903 Lexus GS 350, GS 450h, GS 460, IS 350, LS 460, LS 600h and LS 600hL models and some Toyota Crown cars in Japan, the nation’s transportation ministry said in a statement on its website yesterday. The company decided to initiate a recall after a rising trend in the complaints, Saito said.

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BMW May Invest $1 Billion in Mexican Auto Parts

According to reports made by Bloomberg, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG may invest more than $1 billion to boost the supply of Mexican auto-parts to its U.S. plants, Mexican Economy Minister Gerardo Ruiz Mateos said. BMW is purchasing more supplies outside Germany as part of a goal to lower costs by more than 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion) by 2012 and to reduce the impact of foreign currency swings on earnings. By buying components in Asia and North America, the company will cut currency risk by 1 billion euros by 2012, Herbert Diess, BMW’s purchasing and logistics chief, said in a May 4 interview. For Mexico, the BMW initiative would help Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s plan to increase foreign investment at a time when the country’s share of North American auto production may rise at a quicker pace as U.S. automakers seek lower labor costs. BMW rose 17 cents, or 0.4 percent, to close at 40.07 euros in Frankfurt trading. The stock has gained 26 percent this year, valuing the carmaker at 25.7 billion euros.

Ford Fiesta Shipments Delayed Thanks to Hurricane Damage

According to reports made by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, Ford Motor Co. has delayed shipments of the much-anticipated 2011 Ford Fiesta subcompact to dealerships in the U.S. by 10 days to two weeks because of storm damage and flooding to railways surrounding the Ford plant in Mexico. Hurricane Alex in June and tropical storm Bonnie in July disrupted rail traffic along routes in northern Mexico near the Ford plant, the company said. This has completely halted railway shipments of the vehicle to North America. The company says pictures of the storm damage are available on Ford’s Fiesta page on Facebook. The web page can be viewed by visiting http://www.facebook.com/fordfiesta. Ford started building the Fiesta in early May at its Cuautitlan, Mexico factory near Mexico City. Ford says it its too soon to exactly when the rail cars loaded with Fiestas will get moving again. A spokeswoman said that while the company ships a lot of its cars by rail, it is not the only method. So some Fiestas are making it to customers.

Toyota to Fix Over 735,000 Cars Outside of Recall

According to reports made by Reuters, Toyota Motor Corp said on July 14 it will extend warranties on about 235,500 RAV4 vehicles and address steering complaints on as many as 500,000 late model Matrix and Corollas in the United States. Drivers of 2001 to 2003 model year RAV4s equipped with automatic transmissions may experience a 'hard shift' or have a dashboard light turn on indicating a malfunction, Toyota said in a notice to U.S. dealers. Meanwhile, drivers of about a half million U.S. Matrix and Corolla vehicles from model years 2009 and 2010 may experience steering drift. U.S. Toyota dealers will fix the steering for owners who complain, said Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons. He said the matter was not a safety issue but one of customer satisfaction. In February, when the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had opened a preliminary investigation into complaints over steering issues. At the time, NHTSA had received 168 consumer complaints about the steering issue linked to eight crashes and 11 injuries. Toyota has said Corollas made in

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Japan and Europe had different parts for steering than the affected models sold in North America.Lyons did not provide an estimate of how much the repairs would cost Toyota. Meanwhile, owners of RAV4s covered by the extended warranty will be sent a letter this month advising them to bring their vehicle to a dealer to be examined if they have experienced a problem with shifting. Toyota will pay for repairs and extend warranties of the affected RAV4s, the note sent to dealers said.Toyota said that solder in one of the circuits on the RAV4's engine control module is at risk for peeling over time. In most cases, dealers would be able to fix any vehicle problems by replacing the engine control module, an onboard computer, Toyota said. In some cases, dealers will also have to replace the automatic transaxle on affected RAV4s, Toyota said. No other Toyota, Lexus or Scion models are impacted by the issue, Toyota said in its notice to dealers. RAV4 owners who have already paid for repairs can apply to be reimbursed, Toyota said. New repairs must be made at Toyota dealerships.

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A Brief History of Oklahoma Auto Body Association by David M. Brown Special to Autobody News

The Oklahoma Auto Body Association may have started as a fellowship group five years ago, but today it is spending its time fighting for the rights of its collisionindustry members. “The ‘same six guys’ have always gotten together through the last 25 years and put together some sort of affiliation,” says Jeff Leatherock, President of OKABA and Owner of Hammer & Dolly Body Shop in Oklahoma City, OK. “This is the latest—and the best.” In addition to Leatherock, these founders are Gary Wano Jr., owner of G W and Son Auto Body, Oklahoma City; Brian Shellem, Advanced Automotive Equipment and Prestige Automotive Refinishes, Oklahoma City; Chris Donnelley, Body Works, Oklahoma City; Doug Reinhardt, Car Craft Auto Body, Oklahoma City; and Mickey and Shannon Varner, Jay’s Body Shop, in El Reno, about 20 miles outside Oklahoma City off Interstate 40. Prior to OKABA, a number of associations served the Oklahoma collision industry, including an ASA chapter and the Fellowship of Concerned Repairers of Oklahoma, or FOCRO, Leatherock says. Tulsa also has a loose fellowship, he adds. “I believe the association can bring a united voice as well as a conduit of communication among shops, insurers, legislators, vendors, and anyone else involved in the collision industry,” says Shellem, an OKABA boardmember since 2006. His Advanced Automotive Equipment is one of the largest Celette dealers in the country, he says, and supplies a full range of equipment to the collision industry, primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Prestige provides automotive finishes to Oklahoma City shops. OKABA serves 50 members, including owners of collision repair companies as well as others associated with the industry. The group meets quarterly in Oklahoma City. “We were planning an educational seminar in the middle of this year, but the recent hail storm has put everything on hold until the work load settles down a bit,” says Leatherock, who began working at Hammer & Dolly in 1978, was a junior partner 1982–1995 and became full owner in 1995. As yet, OKABA does not offer professional services to its members, Leatherock says, noting that to now it has been more of a fellowship group and a forum for members to express their concerns about business needs and industry conditions. The group, however, has accomplished a number of goals during its short existence. For one, it has obtained an

Oklahoma Insurance Commission opinion that paint material caps are an illegal policy benefit reduction, Leatherock notes. OKABA has also helped to settle with the Oklahoma Tax Commission that body shops are tax exempt, making collections easier for shop owners. “We were able to obtain a blanket amnesty on sales tax collections prior to 2010,” Leatherock says, noting that till then repair shops had to pay sales tax twice on materials, first to the wholesaler and then were responsible for charging it again on all repairs and remitting the proceeds to the state. Three industry issues are key for Shellem—issues which he hopes OKABA will take up, discuss and eventually resolve: price suppression by insurers, lack of honesty by adjustors, and assertions by some collision shops claiming quality but

not delivering on promises. “We have all heard about the ‘Only One Club,’” he says. “I think the more honest every person involved in the industry is, the better things will be for all of us.” For the Varners, Mickey and Shannon, of Jay’s Body Shop, a major issue for the association to begin to work on is clarity and consistency in labor rate surveys. “To my knowledge in Oklahoma, there are no set rules or guidelines for how the survey is conducted and who is eligible to be a part of that survey,” says Mickey Varner, an OKABA boardmember for two years. “It is up to each individual insurer to determine the competitive rate for the market area using whatever method they choose to determine that rate. As a result, you can have 10–15 insurers coming

up with three different rates for a particular area.” Mickey and Shannon’s shop performs collision and mechanical repairs as well as service, including front-end alignments, brakes, tires, air-conditioning, as well as installing spray-in bedliners. The Varners also operate Car Rental Xpress & Auto Sales out of Jay’s Body Shop, where customers can rent cars while theirs are being repaired or because they want to take a trip or just buy new ones. Varner recalls seeing someone setting up shop in an old warehouse to repair recent hail-damaged vehicles: “As it is right now, if you call yourself a ‘body shop’ and have a building to work out of, you qualify to be part of the survey. You are not required to have trained personnel, you are See OKABA, Next Page

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Industry professionals who register online to attend the upcoming NACE event will be able to make donations to the ICAR Education Foundation. The donations will help support collision repair schools and fund student scholarships and other programs, such as the “Ultimate Collision Makeover” grant. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made in $5, $10, $25 and $50 increments. Those who pledge $50 will be given a 2010/I-CAR Education Foundation technician shirt at the NACE event. For more information about how to register for NACE or how to donate, go to naceexpo.com.

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not required to have frame/unibody straightening or measuring capabilities.” He adds: “There are still shops repairing late-model vehicles with ‘rose-bud’ tipped torches, come-alongs and a tape measure.” Leatherock notes that in Oklahoma, the insurance companies should survey shops in each market area every two years but, at least for the last 35 years, State Farm would call shops and compile results and the other carriers would follow its lead. About four to five years ago, State Farm stopped doing the survey and instructed shops to set up a profile on its B2B Web site and post rates there. “This has created a Catch-22 in which DRP shops are afraid of being removed from the ‘program’ if they raise their rates, and other shops don’t change anything because it hasn’t been done any differently in their professional lifetimes,” Leatherock says. “The insurance companies could not create a better way to stop rate increases if they tried.” Leatherock says that body shops in Oklahoma charge half as much for an hour of labor as mechanic shops: “This clearly shows that the basis of all price negotiations in the body shop industry in Oklahoma are based on a lie. What is the price for a real hour of labor? OKABA believes car owners, insurers and body shops deserve an honest answer.” Varner adds: “What I’d like to see is less manipulation of the databases, which can shortchange the consumer and the shop. In the end, I just want to be paid for what I do—no more, no less.” To contact OKABA call: Tel: (405) 751-1337

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 47


Shop and Product Showcase

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

Auto Body Guru Helps Body Shops One Click at a Time with Ed Attanasio

If you don’t know SEO from [a] CEO, and PPC could be a new type of paint, or if ‘organic search’ sounds pretty much like a hunt for fresh but pricy vegetables, you might want to pay some close attention to Auto Body Guru. Don’t be embarassed if you lack internet skills. Instead take a little while to understand what you might be leaving on the Body Shop Owner table, by ignoring the Rouben Mirzaians potential benefits to has experienced an ongoing improvement your business. in his business via Body shops the Internet since need to know how to he signed on with fix cars while navihis Rony’s program gating around the with Auto Body Guru. many obstacles that can get in the way of doing a good job while still making a profit. That’s why it makes sense to understand the benefits of using a company like Auto Body Guru to figure out the proper ways to position yourself on the Internet and get results. “Body shop owners know how to run their businesses, but when it comes to Internet marketing, they will admit they need assistance,” Rony Mirzaians, the founder and owner of Auto Body Guru explained. “Would you hire a body tech to create your Web site and then optimize it for search? I don’t think you would. The best thing a body shop owner needs to know is what he or she doesn’t know. Delegate your online marketing to an expert and you’ll succeed. Do it part-time or hire a hobbyist to do it, and you’re setting yourself up for failure.” Most body shop owners will admit that they just don’t have sufficient time to do marketing. And that’s why Mirzaians knows the game plan when it comes to getting shops customers via online, he said. “Our job is to educate the body shops about how to leverage their presence online. A shop can have a beautiful Web site with all the bells and whistles, but if no one can find it, what good is it? The bottom line is that the phone needs to ring. You can have an award-winning site, but if you’re not attracting customers, who cares? Auto Body Guru is associated with all the big names in the World Wide Web, Mirzaians said. “We partner with Google, Yahoo! and bing and are Google Adwords Certified Partners, Yahoo Ambassador Program Members and MSN AdExcellence Members. These Certifications allow

us to provide the best Pay Per Click management and setup options to our clients. The partnership with Google, Yahoo! and bing as trusted data providers allows us to provide enhanced Local Search (SEO) and maps optimization services.” “These are the worldwide powerhouses of search and we have great relationships with all of them,” Mirzaians said. “I tell shops that we’re working with the leaders, so if they’ll give me at least 2-3 months to help them, they’ll start to see tangible results.” Auto Body Guru can help body shops to wean themselves off the costly yellow pages and jump into the online world at a very reasonable rate, Mirzaians said. “The yellow pages are dying, because people are now using their computers, cell phones and GPS devices to find businesses. We

graphically target your specific area so that your ads will be displayed to customers online.” Auto body customers usually have a sense of urgency when they are looking for repair services online, Marzaians said. “In a typical scenario, the auto body customer is likely to be doing a search on the side of the road on their phone or at home after an accident so they can quickly get their car back on the road. The most powerful real estate for auto body companies is in the first page of Google, next to the map and complemented by sponsored links for maximum online exposure.” Being patient while building an online presence is key to his program’s success, Mizraians said. “With any marketing campaign you’ll have to give PPC at least a month to properly test its ef-

The Auto Body Guru crew includes (from left) Senior Sales Executive Jonathan Johnson, Sales Executive Ignacio Juarez, Operations Manager/Social Media Expert Nikki Pope, Owner Rony Mirzaians, Director of Search & Pay Per Click Young Chu, Customer Service Manager Frank Perez, Sales Executive Josh Shipley, Local Search & Google Maps Tech Gary B. and Social Media Manager Lilit K.

can sign a shop up quickly and affordably, without contracts, setup fees and per click charges. 65% of users search online for auto body services and that number will increase each year, we believe.” One of the main advantages of online marketing allows shops to attract customers from a wider geographical range, Mirzaians said. “The great thing about the auto body business is that your core service requires you to communicate with your customers consistently. This means you are not restricted to one distinct location like the traditional brick and mortar business. In fact, it’s not unusual for auto body companies to service a 50+ mile radius. This extended service radius means you potentially have a larger pool of customers to capture. PPC (Pay Per Click) Marketing is the perfect method to instantly tap into that pool of customers. Especially since it allows you to geo-

48 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

fectiveness. Start with a small campaign and a modest budget to build and test the campaign. Be prepared to spend time and learn from the results you find with each different ad and make changes on weak campaigns.” Body shops have embraced the search expertise implemented by Auto Body Guru, getting outstanding results since signing with ABG. One of Mirzaians’ first customers was his father, who has owned American Eagle Auto Body in Los Angeles for 12 years. In fact, one of the main reasons why Rony got into the Internet marketing field initially was to help his dad in generating leads for his shop, he said. “In ’07-’08, when the economy started to limp along, my father came to me and asked me to help him with his marketing. Like many other shops, he had no idea where to start. So, I designed a Web

site for him rather quickly, to get him in the major search engines, primarily Google and Yahoo. In our first month, my father’s shop got three new jobs from being on the first page of Google next to the map, which equaled $14,000 in revenue. Since then, he’s experienced a consistent response. Unlike the yellow pages, his Internet marketing efforts have paid for themselves and now they generate a profit every month.” Rooben Mirzaians has experienced an ongoing improvement in his business via the Internet since he started with his son’s program 2.5 years ago. Now he knows exactly how many leads he gets each month from the SEO he and Rony strategized, he said. “It does work,” the senior Mirzaians said. “We’re getting a lot of inquiries and they’ve lead to a considerable amount of repair jobs. We used the yellow pages for many years and it was very expensive. The Web site and the search approach gets the phone ringing, and then it’s our job to get them to come here. Once they also see our feedback online, people will drive from all corners of L.A. County to come here. Once they feel confident and secure about us, they don’t mind traveling to get their cars fixed.” Joe Merdkanian, owner of Eurasian Coach Works in West Hollywood, recently contracted with ABG and he’s already seen some significant activity based on the search strategies they devised for his shop, he said. “We’ve been with ABG for a few months and we’re still tweaking and learning the program. They put my Web site together and it was so fast I was amazed. Other web designers in the past took months and months to produce our sites, but ABG had it done in less than two weeks and it looks great.” James Davis, owner of Irvine Auto Collision, has been an ABG customer for two years and is pleased with the response, he explained. “We’ve received very positive results from our Web site and the SEO they’ve put together. For a while, I did it on my own, but it was very time-consuming. It’s worked out much better to hire ABG, because if you don’t know everything you can pay too much for keywords, etc. My advice is hire an expert and concentrate on other things like fixing vehicles.” Auto Body Guru 6708 Foothill Blvd., Suite 209 Tujunga, California 91402 (888) 558-0006 www.GuruMarketGroup.com


Action Counts What Do We Do Now? with Lee Amaradio Jr.

We all have worked really hard the last two years in anticipation of an upturn in the economy. What now? I haven’t seen much of an upswing. Although, as a matter of fact, I haven’t seen things get any worse either. We have made our adjustments and we just seem to be plugging along. My problem is that I want things to return to the pre-recession economy. I find myself sitting on my hands wishing and waiting, instead of preparing for things to remain as they are. Things really could be much worse. Life is just life and as business owners we cannot beat ourselves up too badly when we find ourselves struggling in these tough times. If you are surviving in today’s economy you are getting ahead. But I am not in business just to survive. I went in business to prosper. I have been in business for over 30 years and, if I were to add it up, at least half of those 30 years have been spent in the survival mode. It has taken me a lifetime to learn one thing and that is business and life will always have its disappointments, so enjoy

the good times while they last. Business is much like a marriage. You really need to take the time to appreciate it when things are good, because tough times are coming. That’s life. I can’t tell you why we never reach the top of the food chain, but I can tell you that you never will. Look at people like Bill Gates. You would think that he doesn’t have much to worry about but his life offers no more satisfaction then yours or mine. I once had a very wealthy friend tell me that he was no smarter than me, nor di d he work harder. The only difference in his life compared to mine were that there were just more zero’s added to everything he did. We cannot beat ourselves up over and over because of circumstances over which we have no control. We just need to keep on keeping on, and make the best decisions with the information we have. Remember ,even if you fail, there will be good that will come out of it. You’re not to blame that there is a limited amount of credit

Lee Amaradio, Jr. is the president and owner of “Faith” Quality Auto Body Inc. in Murrieta, California. Lee is president of the CRA as well as an advocate for many other industry groups. He can be contacted at lee@faithqualityautobody.com

available to small business. You’re not to blame for this economy, but you must do your part and learn from these difficult times. But worrying and beating yourself will accomplish nothing. So do we just quit caring? Absolutely not! We just quit worrying about the things that will never change and make your decisions based on today’s economy not the pre-recession economy. I remember almost 20 years ago when I was struggling to make a go of two shops when the last recession hit and I was forced to close one location. In my efforts to succeed I borrowed money from friends and family, only to fail anyway. Not only did I close my second location but now I had a huge debt to pay off. I soon realized that shutting down the other location was my saving grace and wished I’d shut it down before borrowing any money. The lesson I learned was that no matter how hard I worked or how much money I invested what happen to me would have happened no matter what I did. There was really nothing I could do to stop it. Looking back on it, it was a key

element in driving my future success. I had so many people to pay back it forced me to become a more diligent and better businessman. The toys all went away because I learned to invest in my business first and never to rob my business capital to advance my lifestyle. Tough times can be a blessing. They will make you a better businessman or woman and you will develop character accompanied by wisdom. These are lessons you cannot learn in any school. Find the good during these tough times and always look for opportunities to excel. Try to polish your business skills and remember to learn from your mistakes so you will be rewarded years in the future. I remember that I didn’t reap the benefits for what I went through until another ten years later. But the hard times, as hard as they seemed at the time, were all building blocks to the future. You can only do what you can do. Always remember that in business there will always be some tough times when you need to ask yourself: What do we do Now?

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Ford Motor Company’s biomaterial researchers have engineered a patent-pending formula to use renewable soy oil to improve rubber car parts and make them more environmentally friendly said the automaker July 8. By using renewable soy oil as a 25 percent replacement for petroleum oil, Ford researchers more than doubled rubber’s stretchability and reduced its environmental impact. Soy-based rubber parts such as radiator deflector shields, air baffles, cupholder inserts and floor mats are under consideration for future Ford vehicle programs. The scope of Ford’s recent rubber research, which was funded in part by grants from the United Soybean Board (USB), included the use of soy fillers (flour, meal) as well as soy oils. Ford researchers found that soy fillers could provide an inexpensive and environmentally friendly partial replacement of carbon black, a petroleum-based material traditionally used to reinforce rubber. Used together, soy oil and soy fillers could replace up to 26 percent of the petroleum-based content in automotive rubber applications. According to the International Rubber Study Group, the automotive sector

accounts for more than 50 percent of worldwide rubber consumption, which exceeded 22 million metric tons in 2008. Automotive rubber usage is expected to rise more than 4 percent through 2013. Ford was the first automaker to demonstrate that soy-based foams could be formulated to pass stringent requirements for automotive applications, starting with seats for the 2008 Ford Mustang and headliners for the 2010 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. The new 2011 Ford Explorer will become the 23rd model to feature soy foam. With bio foam on more than 2 million vehicles, Ford has annually reduced its petroleum oil usage by more than 3 million pounds and its carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million pounds. Ford also is looking at the use of other renewable sources for foam, including grape seed and sunflower oil. In addition to bio foam, the company is working with post-consumer recycled resins to make underbody systems, postindustrial recycled yarns for seat fabrics, repurposed nylon carpeting made into nylon resin and molded into cylinder head covers, and wheat straw-reinforced plastic parts. The use of recycled or renewable content is making a positive impact on the environment and Ford’s bottom line.

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 49


CAA Collision Industry Guide—Part 1 Continued This portion of the Industry Guide is continued from Part 1 in our July 2010 issue and is also part of several on the CAA website. To read the full version go to www.calautobody.com. Attention: Some of the questions and answers in this segment deal with various laws. The answers to these questions are general in nature and should not be considered as legal advice.

Q. My customers and I have filed numerous complaints with insurance company and the department of insurance but the illegal steering continues. What can I do? A. Sometimes drastic action must be taken when the parties in a dispute cannot agree on a resolution. The drastic action in this case would be to seek legal advice from an attorney that specializes in insurance law. Remember the signed statements we mentioned in the steering questions above? Your attorney will need them to determine the best legal course of action for you to take. With respect to the Department of Insurance, they have an obligation to enforce the insurance code. If they fail to enforce the insurance code as required, you may want to consider contacting your state assembly representative and state senator for assistance. The customer statements will help them understand the gravity of the problem. Q. Is there any way to avoid the continual disputes with insurance adjusters over issues like repair processes, new vs. OEM parts, new vs. used etc. With insurers that I do not have a direct repair relationship? A. There are ways to position the claim that will give the customer and you an insurance code and B.A.R. regulation advantage. However, it may require you to change some of your processes and, it will require the adjuster to be familiar with the Insurance Code. The changes you may have to make in your processes will only make you compliant with the CA code of regulations. These changes have to do with the way the original estimate is handled with respect to the customer. Let’s start by understanding that you do not have a contractual agreement with your customers insurance company. Therefore, you are not bound by their policies or rules. Conversely, the insurance company does have a contract with the customer. All policies and rules apply to the customer. The insurance code is very specific on how insurance company must handle differences with their customer. Everything changes when the body shop gets in the middle of the process in an attempt to make things easier for the customer. Communication with your customer is the key to this process. The customer must know “why” you are doing things this way. When you write estimates on drivable

vehicles, the estimate is usually given to the customer for him / her to submit to the insurer [non d.r.p.]. problems arise with the process many shops use when a vehicle is not drivable. In most shops, the process goes something like this: The vehicle is towed into the shop. The customer comes into the shop and signs an authorization to repair and the shop waits for the adjuster to show up [he /she will write his/her own estimate anyway]. Or, the shop writes an estimate, calls the customer with an amount gets authorization to repair and waits for the adjuster. There is a B.A.R. violation in both situations. Section 3353[b] states: “every dealer, when doing auto body or collision repairs, shall give to each customer a written estimated price for parts and labor for a specific job”. This is not the entire section. In addition, the B.A.R. recommends that the original authorization be by signature except when “unusual circumstances” exist [3353-f]. It is important that you don’t wait for an adjuster. Prepare your estimate quickly and get it into the hands of your customer, so your customer can immediately submit the estimate to their insurer as their “proof of claim”. [you can also send a copy to the insurer] here’s why: The insurance code is written to protect the rights of the insured, not the auto body repair dealer. Since the insurance company has no contractual obligation to the auto body dealer, any attempt to intercede in the adjustment process by the auto body dealer just serves to complicate the matter. In fact, sections 9880.1-j, 9884.9-d of the business and professions code and 3303-j of the CA code of regulations may make it unlawful for the auto body repair dealer to get in the middle of the negotiations on the “scope” of repair between the customer and his / her insurer. You may negotiate the “cost” of the repair with the insurer. Section 2695.2-s of the insurance code defines “proof of claim” as “any documentation in the claimant’s possession submitted to the insurer which provides any evidence of the claim and supports the magnitude or the amount of the claimed loss”. Section 2695.7-b of the insurance code states “upon receiving proof of claim, every insurer shall immediately, but in no event more than forty [40] calendar days later, accept or deny the claim in whole or in part. The amounts accepted or denied shall be clearly documented in the claim file unless the claim has been denied in its entirety.” I will refer to the estimate as the “proof of claim” from this point on. Section 2695.7-b-1 of the insurance code further outlines the insurers responsibilities when making a full or partial denial. See the third question in this document for the full text of this section of the insurance code.

50 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

Handling estimates in this manner completely changes the dynamics of the claim adjustment process. When the customer and you set the claim up in this fashion, it forces the insurance company to respond to the customer in writing when the adjuster attempts to change the “proof of claim” estimate. Also, the adjuster must be specific about where, in the policy, the insurer gets the authority to make changes to the “proof of claim.” An example of a situation where an insurer may be able to cite, in their letter to the customer, a policy provision that would allow them to change a “proof of claim” would be when the insurance policy states aftermarket parts may be installed instead of OEM parts. An example of a situation where an insurer may not change a “proof of claim” is when the insurer attempts to put a limit on paint. The insurance policy does not allow the insurer to apply this type limit. A “by the numbers” process might look like this: 1. With non drivable vehicles, get authorization to tear down, analyze the damage [measure], and estimate the repair cost. 2. Prepare the estimate immediately. Give the customer a copy of the estimate , go over the damage with your customer, explain the reasons why you plan to repair his/her vehicle in the manner you have cho-

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sen, ask for feedback, explain the insurance claim process, have the customer sign a repair authorization, send or fax the estimate to the insurance company. 3. If the adjuster attempts to change the “scope” of repair on your estimate, refer the adjuster to sections 9880.1-j, 9884.9d of the business and professions code and 3303-j of the CA code of regulations and to the customer. Call the customer and alert him/her that the adjuster will be calling and why. Also remind the customer of his /her rights again. 4. If the adjuster refuses to comply, you and the customer should consider filing complaints with the Dept. of Insurance. Q.What impact do sections of the business and professions and CA code of regulations have on my d.r.p. customer? A. Most true direct repair programs have agreements made in advance. Therefore, the chances of this type of problem are minimized but not eliminated. If you write a direct repair estimate and the customer has specific requests such as new panel vs. repair and the customer authorizes the repair based on that estimate and the insurance company reinspector attempts to change the “scope” of repair, the reinspector must notify the customer of the changes in writing and the customer must authorize you to make the changes on the repair invoice.

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Rome Technologies Releases Next Generation of CompleteShop

Rome Technologies released CompleteShop 2010, their body shop sofgtware, in June. CompleteShop groups the tasks for the writers, parts, production and customer service departments and prioritizes them for the shortest cycle time while maintaining the highest level of communication to the customer, insurer and rental car company. The new release will also include an entirely new integration for CompleteShop to interface with CCC, Mitchell and Audatex. This new integration will support Text Recognition Technology (TRT), writers will be able to distribute income into the categories of their choice putting transactions in the right place the first time. For the first time, estimates and supplements will no longer require editing in the management system. This will allow the user to have more income categories to better scrutinize profits and process at every level of production and will decrease time spent navigating through screens and editing repair orders. To learn more about Rome Technologies contact Scott Rome at 800373-Rome or visit www.rometech.com.

Ford to End Mercury Production in the Fourth Quarter

Ford will end production of Mercury vehicles in the fourth quarter of this year to fully devote its resources toward further growing its core Ford brand while enhancing the Lincoln brand. Mercury originally was created as a premium offering to Ford and was an important source of incremental sales. However, the continued strength of the Ford brand – particularly during the past three years – has accelerated the migration from Mercury to Ford for many customers. The majority of current Mercury sales are to fleet buyers and customers purchasing through employee, retiree and friends and family discounts, which Ford anticipates largely can be satisfied by Ford brand vehicles. Of Ford Motor Company’s 16 percent market share in the U.S., Mercury accounts for 0.8 percentage points, a level that has been flat or declining for the past several years. Ford’s strengthening financial position allows the company to absorb short-term costs associated with the discontinuation of Mercury and to consolidate future product investments into Lincoln. Today, there are no stand-alone Mercury dealerships in North America.

Amid Safety Concerns, Hybrid Autos May Be Made Noisier

According to reports made by the Associated Press, gas-electric hybrids, propelled by electric motors at low speeds, are wellknown for their quiet ride and great mileage. But some researchers and safety groups say that quiet operation can pose risks for unsuspecting pedestrians and the blind, who use sound cues. Advocates for the blind have sought the addition of artificial noises in hybrids for several years. Hybrids account for about 2 percent of new car sales each year, but auto companies are expected to boost production in advance of tougher fuel efficiency standards this decade. The government's auto safety agency said in a research report last year that hybrid vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in pedestrian crashes at low speeds compared with cars with conventional engines. The study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examined circumstances in which the vehicles were slowing down or coming to a stop, backing up or entering or departing a parking space. Congress is heeding the warnings, adding sound performance requirements for hybrids and electric cars to an auto safety bill being considered after the massive Toyota recalls. Lawmakers could consider the changes this summer, and car

companies probably would have to have the sounds ready to go three years after the release of new government rules. Automakers helped develop the proposal in Congress and are moving forward with new artificial sounds that will be emitted from electric cars and future hybrid models. Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Corp. has produced distinct sounds for the Leaf, the electric car expected to go on sale this year, when the vehicle accelerates or moves in reverse. When the Leaf speeds up to 20 mph, it automatically will use a soft whirring sound that changes pitch as the car accelerates. When the Leaf backs up, an intermittent bell will ring to warn those nearby. General Motors Co. wanted a more subtle chirp on its Chevrolet Volt, so it chose an alert horn that lets the driver warn an unknowing bystander. Toyota Motor Corp., which makes the top-selling Prius hybrid, is studying artificial sounds for hybrids when the vehicle is propelled by its electric motor at low speeds. And Ford Motor Co. is working to bring external sounds to future hybrids and electrics, including its Focus electric car, expected in 2011, and a next-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle planned for 2012.

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Toyota Adding More Time to New Vehicle Development Toyota Motor Corp. is extending the time it takes to develop new vehicles by about four weeks for more quality checks in the wake of its massive safety-related recalls, a top executive said June 7. Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada said the company has learned a lot in the wake of its recalls of more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide, including the need to slow the pace at which it develops new vehicles. Currently it takes Toyota about 24 months on average to bring a new vehicle to market in Japan, Uchiyamada said. The timeframe varies somewhat in other markets, including the U.S. Toyota has been reeling in the wake of its recalls, which bruised its vaunted reputation for quality and dented its market share in the U.S., its biggest market. The company's largest recalls stemmed from unintended acceleration related to faulty gas pedals and floor mats. In recent months, the automaker has recalled hundreds of thousands of other vehicles for various other reasons. Toyota executives have acknowledged that the company expanded too quickly in the U.S. before its recalls. Company officials said today that the automaker has taken a host of steps to beef up its quality controls since then.

PPG Launches MVP Sales & Marketing Workshop

PPG’s MVP Business Solutions group has introduced a new training course to assist collision centers in maximizing sales opportunities in the modern business climate. Entitled “MVP Accelerated Sales and Marketing Systems,” the 2-day workshop covers a wide range of topics covering four primary market segments: the consumer, insurance DRP, insurance agent and non-traditional media. Beginning with an overview of industry trends, the workshop provides real-world instruction for developing an effective marketing and sales plan using new tools and methodology. Attendees also are schooled on how to compose a concise, carefully-planned positioning statement of the business, and the “ins and outs” of leveraging customer testimonials to market the business. The workshop is available to PPG collision center customers in a two-day course or a one-day condensed format that allows participants to customize the course and select the topics most important to them. For more information about PPG MVP Business Solutions, contact your PPG territory manager, email MVPmailbox@ppg.com or visit www.ppgmvp.com.

NCOIL Takes No Final Action on Model Parts Bill

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) Property-Casualty Insurance Committee took no final action on its proposed Motor Vehicle Crash Parts and Repair Model Act today at the NCOIL summer meeting in Boston. The committee will continue discussing the Model Act at its annual meeting this fall in Austin, Texas. ASA opposes the NCOIL Motor Vehicle Crash Parts and Repair Model Act because of concerns about the provisions regarding aftermarket part certification, the lack of a written consent process for the use of replacement crash parts by consumers, and the equating of certified parts to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. ASA had been particularly concerned about the certification process and what standards would be in place to certify aftermarket parts as equivalent to OEM parts. Another concern is the language used in the Model Act to ensure that consumers will be aware of what types of parts were being used to repair their vehicles. ASA supports formal written consent, as to the replacement crash parts used in the repair, by the consumer to ensure that the consumer is fully aware of the parts being used to repair their vehicle.

The Property-Casualty Insurance Committee did approve a provision for the Model Act that differentiates certified aftermarket crash parts from aftermarket crash parts. ASA opposed this provision. ASA encourages independent repairers to go to the ASA legislative website, www.TakingTheHill.com, to view the letter sent from ASA in opposition to the Model Act, as well as view the text from the proposed Model Act. The Automotive Service Association is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and repair professionals. ASA serves an international membership base that includes numerous affiliate, state and chapter groups from both the mechanical and collision repair segments of the automotive service industry. ASA’s headquarters is in Bedford, Texas. ASA advances professionalism and excellence in the automotive repair industry through education, representation and member services. For additional information about ASA, including past news releases, go to www.ASAshop.org, or visit ASA’s legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com.

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CAA Collision Industry Guide — Part 2 This portion of the Industry Guide is part of several on the CAA website. To read the full version go to www.calautobody.com.

Attention: Some of the questions and answers in this segment deal with various laws. The answers to these questions are general in nature and should not be considered as legal advice.

This segment of the collision industry guide will deal with the relationship between the auto body repair shop, the customer and their insurance company. The information contained in this segment is to be used for education and information only. Generally, you are not required to take action on issues discussed in this segment. If there is something that requires a specific action, it will be so noted. The knowledge contained in this segment will make it possible for you to make more informed business decisions when dealing with insurance companies their agents, adjusters and your customers. Section 2695.6 of the CA insurance code requires all insurance companies to certify annually, in writing, that their claims adjusting manuals contain the regulations that will be cited in this document. Section 2695.6 of the CA insurance code also requires annual certification that the insurance companies provided clear writ-

ten instructions to it’s claim agents regarding the procedures to be followed to effect proper compliance with the regulations that will be cited in this document. Section 2695.6 of the CA Insurance code requires the insurance companies to annually certify, in writing, that they have provided training to any independent adjusters they retain or alternately, the independent adjuster may annually certify in writing that he / she understands the regulations that will be cited in this document. This is important because everything we cover in this document is part of the insurance code that every staff adjuster, independent adjuster, insurance agent and insurance company claim manager is required, by statute, to know. When these “fair claims settlement practices” are knowingly violated on a single occasion, or performed with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice, it is considered to be an “unfair claims settlement practice” and prohibited by the insurance code. Q. Does the auto body repair shop have any direct obligation to the customer’s insurance company? A. No! Your customer has the contract with their insurance company. You have an agreement with the customer to repair their vehicle. You cannot have an agreement with a customer or an insurance company

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that allows the insurance company to act as a representative of the customer, even if you enter into a direct repair agreement with insurance company, you must deal with the customer or his / her properly designated representative. [9884.9 b&p code, 3303-j & 3353 CA. Code of regs.] Q. The claim adjuster said his company has a $350.00 “threshold” on paint and that is all they will pay. If I want more, the customer will have to pay the difference. I don’t want to alienate my customer, what can I do? A. The quick and easy way to solve this problem would be to agree to the $350.00 paint limit if you believe you can paint the damaged portion of the customer’s vehicle for that amount. If the cost of the paint will exceed the insurer’s arbitrary limit, your customer will have to contact the insurance company representative to get them to pay for the entire cost of the repair. This must be done by the customer because he / she has the contract of insurance. Of course you may advise the customer on what sections of the insurance code applies and what it says. Section 2695.7b-1 applies. The full text of 2695.7b-1 is shown in the answer to the next question. The adjuster may not know it, but he /she is making a partial denial of the claim. When your customer gives your repair estimate to the insurance company, or when the customer signs your work order authorizing you to repair their vehicle based on that estimate, the estimate becomes the “proof of claim” or “claim”. When an insurer or its claim agent makes a partial denial, it must be done in writing citing the specific policy provision, condition, or exclusion they are using and how they are applying it. This practice is more commonly known as “capping”. Insurance company cannot apply arbitrary limits to what they will pay, or not pay. Insurance company can only apply a limitation of this type if there is a provision, condition, or exclusion in the policy that gives them the right to set specific limits. Most auto insurance policies are policies of “adhesion” meaning if an exclusion, condition, or limitation isn’t clearly written in the policy, the insurance company cannot enforce the condition, limit, or exclusion. What’s next if the customer fails to get the insurance company to yield? You have some options. ● Both you and the customer may file separate complaints with the department of insurance. They should be filed separately and sent in separate envelopes. ● You may make a business decision. Can you afford to give the additional cost of the paint to the customer, or, do you want to? If the answer is no, then charge the customer for the additional paint. ● If you decide to charge the customer for the paint, you may want consider helping

the customer prepare their small claim action against the insurance company. ● A recent disciplinary action settlement by the Dept. Of Insurance vs. Geico Ins. Co clearly stated that paint capping was an illegal act. 1] The claim adjuster said the prevailing hourly labor rate set by his company is all he will pay. If I charge a higher hourly rate, the customer will have to pay the difference. What can I do? 2] The insurance adjuster said his company does not pay for color sand and buff, color tint, or color match procedures even though this work must be done. If I want to get paid for this work, the customer will have to pay the difference. What can I do? 3] One insurance adjuster says his company does not pay for toxic waste removal, another says his company only authorizes her to pay $1.00 for toxic waste removal. If I charge more, the customer will have to pay the difference. What can I do? 4] In the three previous questions, the adjuster told my customer that he / she can avoid paying any additional charges beyond their deductible if he / she moved the vehicle to the insurance company recommended direct repair facility, what can I do? A. The answer to question number one is somewhat complicated at this time. The department of insurance is currently of the opinion that insurers are acting within their rights by setting a “prevailing” labor rate if they have done a labor rate survey in the area. Of course the CAA disagrees with the Dept. of Insurance position and we are continuing to work to change their position through regulation, legislation, political pressure, or through the courts if necessary. This does not mean that you must accept the labor rates that the insurance company is offering. The CAA suggested course of action is outlined below. We are going to look at section 2695.7[b] [1], 2695.8 [f] [1 – 2 & 3] and 758.5 of the CA Insurance code for the authority on these four questions. Remember, you have no legal standing under the insurance contract, so you will have to advise and educate your customer on what his / her rights are regarding the payment of claims. The customer, with your assistance, will have to argue his / her case. What the adjusters are doing in the above questions is a partial denial of a claim and unlawful steering, we’ll address the partial denial issue first. Your estimate, including the scope of repair, labor rate, paint, and all other charges that are necessary in order to repair the vehicle properly becomes the “claim”. Section 2695.7 [b] [1] states: “where an insurer denies or rejects a first party claim, in whole or in part, it shall do so in writing and shall provide to the claimant a statement listing all basis for See CAA Guide, Page 54

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 53


Continued from Page 53

CAA Guide

such rejection or denial and the factual and legal basis for each reason given for such rejection or denial which is then within the insurer’s knowledge. Where an insurer’s denial of a first party claim, in whole or in part, is based on a specific statute, applicable law or policy provision, condition or exclusion, the written denial shall include reference thereto and provide an explanation of the application of the provision, condition or exclusion to the claim. Every insurer that rejects a third party claim, in whole or in part, or disputes liability or damages shall do so in writing.” The current position of the Department of Insurance regarding labor rates lies within the first sentence of this regulation. Their position is that the legal basis for the labor rate denial lies within 758-c of the insurance code. We disagree. The adjuster will tell you, the body shop owner / manager what he / she, or the insurance company doesn’t pay for. But generally, they don’t know that they are required to communicate this partial denial to the customer and do it in writing, this is when you get the customer involved. When the adjuster invited the customer to move the vehicle to their recommended direct repair shop, that adjuster violated section 758.5 [a], [b-1], [b-1a] and section 2695 [f-1, 2 & 3] of the insurance code. Section 758.5 is the anti- steering regulation. Section 2695 [f] 1, 2, and 3 of the insurance code outlines the process an insurance co. [adjuster] must use when adjusting a claim where an estimate is presented to the insurer that exceeds the amount of the one prepared by or for the insurer to complete the necessary repairs. It is prohibited under both sections of the codes cited above for an insurer or it’s adjuster to require, suggest, or recommend a specific repair dealer unless a referral is expressly requested by the customer. So, what are the insurance adjusters’ choices? Simple………. 1] pay the difference between the adjuster’s estimate and the one you prepared for the customer, or, 2] if the customer asks, provide the customer with the name of at least one repair shop that will repair the vehicle for the adjuster’s estimate, or, 3] reasonably adjust any written estimates prepared by the repair shop of the customers choice which I hope is you. What do I do if the adjuster ignores the regulations? Here are some options for you to consider: ● make sure your customer has a copy of your estimate. Then instruct the adjuster to send his / her estimate and check to the customer. An alternative would be for the

adjuster to leave the estimate and check with you, you should have the customer inspect the vehicle with you to compare the estimates so you can show your customer what the adjuster missed. The customer will have to deal with the adjuster or his / her supervisor to get the estimate corrected. ● you may consider calling the adjuster’s supervisor and explain the insurance code violations the adjuster committed and request the supervisor to instruct the adjuster to correct the estimate. ● If you and the customer are unsuccessful with the supervisor, the customer could file a complaint with the Dept. of Insurance for an improper denial. ● You could file a body shop department of insurance complaint for unlawful steering. Q. The insurance adjuster says his company will only pay for aftermarket exterior sheet metal and plastic parts on their insured and claimant customer’s vehicles. If the customer wants OEM parts, they will have to pay the difference. What can I do? I don’t like to use non OEM parts. A. Section 2695.8 of the insurance code overlaps all these issues so the answers given to previous questions where 2695.8 was cited will apply here also. We’re going to look at section 2695.8[g 1, 2, and 3] for the authority on this. Remember the customer must take the lead on this so you should educate your customer on his / her rights. Most insurance policies will have wording similar to this: “our limit of liability is the least of: 1] the actual cash value of the property or damaged part of the property at the time of the loss, which may include a deduction for depreciation; or 2] the cost to repair or replace the property or part to it’s physical condition at the time of loss using parts produced by or for the vehicle’s manufacturer, or parts from other sources, including, but not limited to, nonoriginal equipment manufacturers, subject to applicable state laws and regulations. Section number two opens the door for the insurance company to all kind of options like used parts, and non-OEM “replacement” sheet metal and plastic parts. Except where the insurance code intervenes. This is where the customer, with your assistance, has the leverage to change the insurer’s decision to use “replacement crash parts.” Section 2695.2-u defines a “replacement crash part” as a replacement for any of the non – mechanical sheet metal or plastic parts which generally constitute the exterior of a motor vehicle, including inner and outer panels. Section 2695.8-g 1,2,3,4 of the insurance code specifies what an insurer must do if it specifies non- OEM replacement crash parts to repair a customer’s vehicle. 1] the parts must be at least equal to OEM parts in terms of kind, quality, safety, fit, and performance. The insurer must warrant this. Safety is the big qualifier here. Many non- OEM parts do not have the same

54 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

number of welds, proper placement of crush zones, light refraction, etc. 2] insurers specifying the use of non-OEM parts must pay the cost of any modification of the part to effect the repair. 3] all OEM and non- OEM parts shall carry sufficient permanent, non-removable identification so as to identify the manufacturer. Such identification shall be accessible to the greatest extent as possible after installation, look closely for the manufacturers stamp. If it’s not stamped, you may want to consider rejecting the part. If no aftermarket parts are available with the proper manufacturing stamps, you may want to consider contacting the adjuster and advising him / her that no qualifying aftermarket parts are available and the insurer should pay to install OEM parts. If the adjuster refuses to agree to OEM parts, you should educate the customer on his / her rights so the customer can argue his / her position with the adjuster and file a d.o.i. complaint if necessary. . The insurance company is steering my customers to their direct repair shops by telling the customer that my shop is not on their approved list. Can the insurance company do this? A. There is conflict within the Department of Insurance over this issue at this time. The insurance commissioner has stated in public that this practice is unlawful steering, but the attorneys and regulators within

the department have been reluctant to challenge or cite the insurance companies for this practice. Of course the CAA disagrees with the department of insurance position and we are continuing to change their position through regulation, legislation, political pressure, or through the courts if necessary. This does not mean that you should accept this type of activity. The CAA recommendations are outlined below. This is one of the worst violations of the insurance code because you have no way of knowing the violation occurred unless your customer informs you that it occurred. Section 758.5 [a], [b-1, b1-a, b1-b] specifically prohibits this type activity, when you have specific knowledge that illegal steering has occurred, you may want to consider doing the following: ● Take a hand written signed statement [declaration of facts] from your customer outlining the facts of the illegal steering. Make sure the customer does this willingly. ● Both you and the customer call the customer’s agent and the manager of the claim office to advise them of the unlawful act. ● Both you and the customer should file separate complaints with the CA Dept. of Insurance. Include a copy of the customer’s hand written signed statement with your complaint, section 12921.3 of the insurance code requires the Dept. of Insurance See CAA Guide, Page 56

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Toshiba Develops Rechargeable Battery for Electric Vehicles

Toshiba Corporation announced that it is working with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation to bring the SCiB™ battery to electric vehicles (EV). The SCiB™ is Toshiba's breakthrough rechargeable lithium-ion battery that combines high levels of safety with a long life and rapid recharging, characteristics that make it highly suited to application in electric vehicles. In bringing the SCiB™ to EV, Toshiba has developed a new original anode material and a new electrolyte that enhances both safety and rapid recharging. The long life of the SCiB™ will promote reduction in the waste that results from battery replacement. Toshiba will produce SCiB™ for industrial applications, including EV and power storage, at Kashiwazaki Operations, a new facility in Niigata prefecture that is slated to start production in 2011. In the EV sector, Toshiba will establish an operating structure for promoting sales and marketing activities that will secure orders and allow it to respond quickly to market growth. For more about SCiB™, please visit Toshiba's website: http://www.scib.jp/en/

Geely Wins EU Antitrust Aapproval to Buy Volvo Cars

PSA and Mitsubishi Join Forces for Electric Powertrain Co-op Study Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and PSA Peugeot Citroën announced June 30 that they have started a feasibility study for the development and supply of powertrains for electric vehicles, including an analysis on the packaging of batteries and its business viability. The first application of this new agreement will focus on light commercial vehicles. This new step results from continuing discussions between the companies to expand their existing current collaboration on electric vehicles. MMC plans to start production of a jointly-developed European models based on its i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicle for PSA Peugeot Citroën this October.

Boyd Group to Acquire True2Form Collision Repair Centers Boyd Group Income Fund, which owns Boyd Autobody and Glass, Gerber Collision and Glass and Gerber National Glass Services, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire True2Form Collision Repair Centers Inc., according to an announcement made June 28. The transaction is valued at approximately $18 million and is expected to be completed by August 1. Boyd is funding the transaction through a variety of methods, including cash, U.S. bank debt, third-party financing and a vendor take-back note. With this acquisition, the Boyd Group will grow to 92 facilities in 11 U.S. states and 37 in Canadian provinces.

Suzuki Recalls 2010 Kizashi Sedan Suzuki has issued a recall for 5,107 Kizashi sedans from the 2010 model year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recall affects models built between Oct. 13, 2009, and May 31, 2010, due to a problem with a door. The hinged door of the center lower box on the dashboard may swing open in the event of an accident. Dealers will inspect and replace the instrument panel center lower box with a new part for free. Owners may contact Suzuki at 714-996-7040 or NHTSA’s hot line at 888-327-4236.

BMW ActiveHybrid 7 Gets $900 Tax Credit The IRS certified the 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 for a tax credit of up to $900 under the Alternative Motor Vehicle provision. The ActiveHybrid 7 is the hybrid version of the 750i/Li and marries an electric motor to the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. The eight-speed transmission will take it from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for the ActiveHybrid 7 is 17/26 mpg city/highway. This is an 18% improvement over its non-hybrid counterpart, although it may not reach standards set by other hybrid car manufacturing rivals.

First 4,400 Volt Owners Eligible for Free Charging Stations If you’re one of the first 4,400 buyers of the new Chevy Volt, you’re also eligible for a free home-charging station, according to GM. This is part of the Department of Energy's federal grants that will install 15,000 home and public charging stations around the country by December. The grants are worth as much as $2,000 to consumers and will put a 240-volt charging station in Volt owners’ homes. The catch is that the Energy Department will study your charging habits to better understand what will be required to bring more electric vehicles to market.

European Union competition regulators approved on June 6 the acquisition of Ford Motor's Volvo car unit by Chinese carmaker Geely Automobile Holdings and state-owned investment group Daqing. The European Commission said it sees no antitrust problems with Zhejiang Geely Holding Co.'s $1.8 billion acquisition of Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Co. because the takeover won't give either company the power to damage rivals. Ford has been trying to sell Volvo since late 2008 to focus on its core Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands.

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Continued from Page 54

CAA Guide

to receive complaints and inquiries, investigate complaints and prosecute insurers when appropriate. The Dept. of Insurance is required to act on complaints by members of the public concerning the handling of insurance claims. The Dept. of Insurance shall notify the complainant of the receipt of the complaint within 10 working days of receipt. Thereafter, the commissioner shall notify the complainant within 30 days of final action. Q. The insurance company is steering my customer to their direct repair shops by telling them that they don’t guarantee repairs done in my shop, but work done in their direct repair shop is guaranteed for as long as the customer owns the vehicle. Can they do this? A. There is conflict within the Department of Insurance on this issue. The insurance commissioner has stated in public that this practice is unlawful steering, but the attorneys and regulators within the department have been reluctant to challenge or cite the insurance companies for their practices. Of course the CAA disagrees with the Department of Insurance position and we are continuing to work to challenge their position through regulation, legislation, political pressure or through the courts if necessary. This does not mean you should accept this type of activity, the CAA recommendations are outlined below. The answer to this question is similar to the one answered directly above. Once the customer tells the insurance company he / she has chosen a repair shop, the insurance company cannot use coercive tactics to get the customer to move the vehicle. Some insurance companies say they are required by section 2695.4a of the insurance code to notify their customer of all benefits, coverage, time limits, or other provisions of any insurance policy that may apply to the claim. The problem with that argument is a direct repair type agreement is usually not part of mainstream insurance policies. But even if it is, the insurance company must follow the road map given to them in section 758.5 of the insurance code. Meaning that once a customer expresses a choice of a repair shop, all discussions of where the customers vehicle will be repaired must stop. If it does not stop, the remedy is the same as in the answer to the previous question. When a vehicle is repaired at a shop recommended by the insurer, the insurance company is required by section 758.5 b-2 to guarantee the repairs. Q. The insurance company is steering my customers to their direct repair shop by telling them that if they leave their vehicle at my shop for repair, it could take as much as ten days for them to get an adjuster to my

shop to inspect the vehicle. They insist no repairs can be done until they inspect the vehicle and give their authorization for repair. But, if the customer moves the vehicle to their direct repair shop, repairs can start immediately. This is persuasive because of rental car expenses, also, along the same line, most insurance companies say they won’t pay for supplements unless they inspect and or approve them. In most cases it takes the adjuster many days just to return our call. Actual inspection takes longer. A. There is conflict within the Department of Insurance over the issue of steering at this time. The insurance commissioner has stated in public that this practice is unlawful steering, but the attorneys and regulators within the department have been reluctant to challenge or cite the insurance companies for this practice. Of course the CAA disagrees with the department of insurance position and we are continuing to work to change their position through regulation, legislation, political pressure, or through the courts if necessary. Unlawful steering is only one part of this problem. The CAA recommendations on the entire problem is outlined below. There is no law that requires an auto repair dealer to wait for an insurance company inspection or authorization before starting repairs after the auto repair dealer has obtained the appropriate authorization to repair from the customer. This applies to supplements also. However, nothing is ever quite that simple is it? There are some caveats that may affect your customer so we need to make sure we protect them, we are going to use some generic policy wording and sections of the insurance code to formulate our answer. Most automobile insurance policies have a provision that gives the insurer the right to inspect the damaged property. The wording of this provision is very simple in some policies and very detailed in others. One thing is clear; the insurance company has the right to inspect the damaged property. But, does that give them the right to delay the processing of a claim? Does that mean they can make a customer wait to start repairs while their adjuster takes his / her time getting out to the shop? No they cannot. Section 2695.1 [a2] of the insurance code states that the purpose of the fair claim settlement practices act is to “promote the good faith, prompt, efficient and equitable settlement of claims on a cost effective basis”. Anything insurance company does that would increase the cost or unduly delay a settlement would violate this code. Section 2695.4 [c] states “no insurer shall deny a claim on the basis of the claimant’s failure to exhibit property, unless there is documentation in the file [1] of demand by the insurer, and the unfounded refusal of the claimant, to exhibit the property, or [2] of the breach of any policy provision of the policy provision

56 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

providing for the exhibition of the property.” The reason this is included in the answer is to affirm what the customer’s policy says. Quite simply, the policy and the code say the customer must make the property available for inspection, but neither state that the property cannot be under repair when the insurance company inspects the property. A good and reasonable business practice would be to wait several days after the customer reports their claim for the insurance company to make their inspection. If the insurance company does not make their inspection by then, you may consider taking photos of the damage, starting repairs and saving the parts. It would be almost impossible for the insurer to argue that the customer jeopardized their rights if you did this. In the case of supplements, get the appropriate authorization from the customer, and advise the customer to inform his / her insurance company of the supplement. You may want to consider making a courtesy call to the insurance co. of the supplement, and continue on with the repairs. This business practice would apply to third party situations also. They don’t have a contract with the insurance company but the insurance company has a legal right to inspect the damaged vehicle. Like the two previous questions, the steering portion of the question is a violation of section 758 of the insurance code.

And the CAA recommended remedy is the same. Q. My customers and I have filed numerous complaints with insurance company and the department of insurance but the illegal steering continues. What can I do? A. Sometimes drastic action must be taken when the parties in a dispute cannot agree on a resolution. The drastic action in this case would be to seek legal advice from an attorney that specializes in insurance law. Remember the signed statements we mentioned in the steering questions above? Your attorney will need them to determine the best legal course of action for you to take. With respect to the Department of Insurance, they have an obligation to enforce the insurance code. If they fail to enforce the insurance code as required, you may want to consider contacting your state assembly representative and state senator for assistance. The customer statements will help them understand the gravity of the problem. Q. Is there any way to avoid the continual disputes with insurance adjusters over issues like repair processes, new vs. OEM parts, new vs. used etc. With insurers that I do not have a direct repair relationship? A. There are ways to position the claim that will give the customer and you an insurance code and B.A.R. regulation advantage. However, it may require you to change some of your processes and, it will require the adjuster to be familiar with the Insurance Code.

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Custom Corner

Rich Evans is the owner of Huntington Beach Bodyworks and an award winning painter and fabricator. He offers workshops in repair and customization at his facility to share his unique talents. For contacts and design samples visit www.huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com

Building a Pinewood Derby Race Car with Rich Evans

builders will be put to the test with miniature wooden pinewood race cars. Each builder will be given a small block of wood to create a one-of-a-kind pinewood race car. There are no rules and no limits on creativity. The cars will be raced at the annual SEMA Banquet in Pasadena California on July 24. One winner will be crowned the race with Thomas Franklin champion and one car will be voted most popular. In November all of these collectible and autographed pinewood cars will be on display at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV and with Thomas Franklin will be auctioned for two children’s charities, Child Help and Victory Junction Camp. I was asked to be one of the builders and said ‘yes’ The Hotrod Industry Alliance HRIA right away. I mean anything having to do with Dick Strom is presenting the 2010 Pinewood Builders with charity, I’m all about; no rules, I’m Race. For the first time ever, over two all about, and a race? Who could say no? dozen world-class hot rod and custom car So it’s a combination of stuff that sounds This month I’ve got a really cool project that’s gonna take us out of the big garage and put us in the small you withgarage. RichI know Evans guys have heard of the Pinewood Derby races, usually involving the Boy Scouts. Now we have something called SEMA Pinewood Races Builder Race.

Custom Corner

On Creative Marketing On Creative Marketing

really cool; one block of wood, a few rules, how can you go wrong? You’ve just got to carve out a little bit of time, it allows you to get out of your element and get a little creative. You know me; I like to get creative. So it started with a block of wood, I sketched out a design. With few rules (except a weight and dimensions limit) it’s harder trying to figure out first things first. I need to come up with a design. I start a little sketch on the side of the wood block, get to the band saw and cut it out. Once

Opinions Count Opinions Count with Dick Strom

Action Counts with Lee Amaradio Jr.

Action Counts with Lee Amaradio Jr.

Your Turn with Sheila Loftus

Your Turn with Sheila Loftus

Shop Showcase with Janet Chaney

you get your basic design, you want to make it to the specs of what’s in your head. So I’m thinking ‘winning the race’ and I’m thinking ‘cool looking car.’ As you can see by the pictures I just took a block of wood, started sanding on it, smoothing surfaces out, made a little scoop. I wanted to give it that racey look without getting a lot of drag in the wind. So when it comes to race time we don’t have anything holding us back. I’ve been working with a company on some new product that I think you guys all know. This company, Sherwin-Williams, seems like they’ve really been going to bat for us end-users and trying to develop and come up with an easy, friendly product and products that work faster, excel in dry times. They help us because we all know time is money. I thought this is the perfect project to try out some of that product. So I’ve got this block of wood ready and I’m gonna hit it with some of this primer called Spectra Prime. It’s P30A, a grey, so I’m gonna load this block of wood up with some of this primer. I’m not worrying about the weight of the car because in the rules it says “maximum weight limit

of the car cannot exceed 24 ounces.” That’s a lot of weight for a car this size. By reading up on these cars racing, I found that the more weight, the better, so we want to try to provide as much weight as possible. The next rule is that “the over length of the car shall not exceed 8.0 inches, including wheels, the overall width of the car shall not exceed 2.75 inches, including wheels. The car must have approximately 3/8th inch clearance underneath the body of the car.” Not a lot of rules, so let’s get back to the paint. I’m going to apply four or five coats of this primer so I can just get in and hit it with some 150 and then come back with some 400 and then we’ll be ready for our base. I like the primer. It goes on quick, dries quick, no shrink back. Obviously I’m painting on top of wood, I’m very impressed with the way that it adhered, no shrink back at all. I’m ready for base coat. I’ve got a concept design which is simple but clean, but still stand out a little bit. We’re going all black. Can you imagine that? Me going all black? Sherwin-Williams has got a black waterborne which is the AWX1738 black. This is probably the deepest black they make. Before applying the black, there’s a sealer we should apply (I don’t have the part number) but that sealer is

phenomenal. It went on nice, had no shrink back, and covered all my scratches, so I put three coats of the sealer, then three coats of the black. I was looking at it and thought ‘I’m going to need some graphics.’ I decided on one single rally stripe down the middle. As I masked everything off, I’m thinking about colors and I decided to

www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 57


go with a silver. Sherwin-Williams has a silver called PCW 2711 (part number). A mixing ratio on this is 1 to 30 percent, so it’s a pretty easy mixing ratio. The base color goes on nice. You’re able to peel your fine line back and not have any lifting problems. I’m going to mask on top of that and put another blue, Sherwin-Williams ‘blistering blue,’ part number’s PCF P18. I’ve got all my color on so now I’m ready to clear it. Sherwin-Williams has a clear called HPC 21. I’m very impressed with this 2.1 VOC clear coat. This clear coat can be sanded and buffed within 15 minutes of application. I kid you not. I can apply this to the car, within 15 minutes you can pick it up, grab it, handle it, and it’s

pretty stoked about them application-wise. We’re doing all this in waterborne, remember. Let’s get back to the car. I just wanted to give Sherwin-Williams a big plug because I was very impressed with their products and I’m digging more deep into it so we’ll see where we go with that. I always like to try product I can recommend to you guys and let you know what’s going on with it. I really like to get into new (to me) products and explore them to see what they can handle, where I can go, how I do with it, so that’s what I’m doing with Sherwin Williams right now. Back to the project. We’ve got this thing all painted, got the axles in it, got a little driver that I slammed in there. I put this thing on the scale and it’s weighing 3 ounces. I’m 21 ounces away from weight so now I’ve got to figure out how to get some weight in to this thing and also I’ve got to figure out how to handle the wheels. We want this thing to win; we want it to look good but we also want it to be fast too so I researched some bearings and got some real small bearings. You’re going to have to do your own research because finding these tiny bearings was tough. I don’t want to give that away. We’ll let the competition do their own research. So I used 8 bearings, drilled out the wheels, countersunk the bearings in and to make a long story short, we’ve got a nice roller which rolls straight. There’s a lot of different research that you have to do to learn about speed and what pinewood racing is all about. I think I’ll be pretty close to the weight. I’m still working on some

I want to get out there and support these charities, and have a good time with it. Hopefully I’ll see some of you guys out there. I know this article will be coming out afterwards but hopefully I’ll be able to write on my next article that I won that tournament and you guys will all be able to see that car out at SEMA 2010 in Novem-

ber. I’d like to thank my sponsors: 3M for providing me with some of the sanding products; Soft-Sanders™, for providing me with blocks to be able to get down in some of these tight areas; SherwinWilliams for supplying me with their refinish products; Hot Rod Industy Alliance (HRIA) for inviting me to participate in this great project and fundraiser.

it up, so you guys can watch what we did. I think it will bring you guys some steps and procedures you can learn so you can go back in to your garage or shop and put it to use. The big thing about The Autoholics is that they’re going to have a background feature called “The Autoholics behind-the-scenes,” so you go on to the website and catch the footage you didn’t see on TV. No footage will be lost. It will be all sectioned and put into the website so you can just click on a button correlating to what you want to watch. If you want to watch the wheels being made, the body work being done, the painting, you’ll be able to see it all. So thanks to all our sponsors on that, there’s too many to mention. Go to my website: huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com to learn more about that. Watch out for the SEMA Project I’m doing with Mopar which is a custom 2010 Challenger. You can catch up on that on my website. I’m also going to be putting a quote every other week on there. You can go to mopar.com and read up on it as well. It’s a very cool project we’re doing, one of many cool projects going on. I don’t think I’m going to have too many days off between now and November 1, so see you out at SEMA.

fully cured. So for small projects—helmets, motorcycle tanks, anything you want The Event to accelerate the speed on, I’d recommend The first annual HRIA Builder Pinewood this. If you get in a jam on a collision part race happens on Saturday, July 24, at the where you’ve got to deliver the car and Pasadena Convention Cenyou got a ding on it, that would be the perter. This race involves over fect opportunity to accelerate time and pro20 of the most legendary cedures. You can find out more about and creative custom car Sherwin Williams products by visiting and hot rod builders in the their very user friendly website at county. there are very few www.sherwin/automotive.com. You can rules leaving the engineerget all the information you need, 24 hours ing and creativity up to the a day. Any information you builders. Participants in need on specs, product data this race include West sheets, they’re all available. Coast Custom’s Rick You can go to that site and Dorr, Clay Smith, Rich Give us find your matters affecting the industry. Want to Contribute out opinion your mixingon ratios, Evans, Allen Johnson,to this Southwest Edition? your time, your windows, Roy Brizio, Art Morrison, and many Make sure you visit the Mopar booth, how much to apply, what more. The builders race will begin at ap- that’s where we’ll be revealing the 2010 gun, what tip to use, PSIs proximately 1 p.m. inside the convention Dodge Challenger Mopar/Rich Evans —theypublisher@autobodynews.com have it all for you. center. The convention center will also be Project. Richevansdesigns.com, huntpublisher@autobodynews.com Time in between coats, hosting the SEMA show and shine car ingtonbeachbodyworks.com. Until next time in between sealers, show with over 250 custom vehicles on month. how many days before you display. We’re going to be revealing The have to scuff it, or how Autoholics 1964 Lincoln Continental at Promote your business Promote your business with many days before it allows that show (see previous issues with of Autoyou to work on top of it. body News for background on that). an exclusive article featuring an exclusive article featuring I’m very impressed with their products and other alternatives to get more weight on I’ve got two cars that I’m bringing to your products or services. your or aservices. what they’re doing to support their use and there To butadvertise I’m going for the maximum that show,products probably have few other ones Thetheir source for timely users. weight. Like I said, the more weight, the that I’ve built. On July 20th in LA we will call Joe Momber at: Obviously they’re one of the biggest better. It’s not gonna do anything to slow have a viewing party for The Autoholics information that every brands on the planet and they’re putting your car down—it’s going to do every- first episode. I’m pumped about it. We did body shop inneeds! the research to it. They actually have thing to speed it up. So with that, we’ve all the build work and now we get to go e-mail: candies coming out. I’m getting ready to got a nice rolling car. I know it’s a small CALL: back andJoe enjoy all the hard that the Momber forwork details! Call for details! jmomber@autobodynews.com write about some of their candies and we’ll project. I’ve got to, of course, put the Rich editors and producers have done to put talk about that next month. I have tried Evans traditional shield on the side of it so this thing together. I’ll keep you posted on www.autobodynews.com Start Yourand FREE their candies you guys are going to be it’s recognized by the world, we hope. what network (hopefully) will be picking

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Some Repairers Oppose “Right to Repair” Legislation...

NESSARA, New England Service Station Auto Repair Association, is the leading organization for the independent auto repair industry in Massachusetts; and, with over 400 members, NESSARA has more independent repair business members than any other organization in Massachusetts. “After careful review of the proposed S. 2517 “Right to Repair” law, it has become clear that this bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Roger Montbleau, NESSARA president. “The opinion of independent repairer’s in Massachusetts as to the availability of auto repair information and tools

runs the full range of opinions. There is confusion. Some believe that these items are not easily obtainable, if at all, while others believe that most or all of them are readily available. This mix-up is being exploited by the proponents of this 'Right to Repair' effort,” said Montbleau. According to Montbleau, this bill will do nothing to address what the Massachusetts auto repair industry really needs: training and education. NESSARA has performed, and continues to offer, auto repair demonstrations for legislators to get a view of the circumstances around this issue.

... Others Support R2R, Including Right to Repair Coalition

Right to Repair legislation has unanimously passed the Massachusetts Senate. The bill requires car manufacturers to provide automobile repair codes and information to local mechanics at a fair price. If passed by the House, this bill will enable small, independent automobile shops to repair consumer’s cars at a lower price than dealerships charge, protecting these small businesses, an important part of our communities, while saving consumers money. “The manufacturers don’t want this to happen because they want to continue

charging customers more money to fix their cars,” said Art Kinsman, a spokesman for the Right to Repair coalition. Recent advertising by opponents of this consumer legislation has misrepresented the legislation. “When this bill passes the House it will be a huge victory for the average consumer,” said Kinsman. “With the economy being what it is, times are tough...” The Right to Repair Coalition represents more than 1,000 independent repair shops in Massachusetts.

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Autobody News Western August 2010 Edition