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September 2017 $595

Are Autonomous Cars a Real Threat to the Industry?

Part Two of an Exclusive Series pg. 38

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We Appreciate Your Business! Flemington Audi, the largest Audi wholesale parts dealer in NJ, thanks our customers for continued loyalty and business. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you over the years, and look forward to helping you save time and increase profits in the future with Audi Genuine Parts.

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P.O. Box 734 Neptune, NJ 07753 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Charles Bryant 732-922-8909 / 2015 - 2017 OFFICERS PRESIDENT Jeff McDowell, Leslie’s Auto Body 732-738-1948 / COLLISION CHAIRMAN Jerry McNee, Ultimate Collision Repair, Inc. 732-494-1900 / MECHANICAL CHAIRMAN Keith Krehel, Krehel Automotive Repair, Inc. 973-546-2828 / TREASURER Tom Elder, Compact Kars, Inc. 609-259-6373 / SECRETARY Thomas Greco, Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc. 973-667-6922 / BOARD Dennis Cataldo, Jr., D&M Auto Body 732-251-4313 /

Dave Laganella, Peters Body and Fender 201-337-1200 /

Sam Mikhail, Prestige Auto Body 908-789-2020 /

Ted Rainer, Ocean Bay Auto Body 732-899-7900 /

Anthony Sauta, East Coast Auto Body 732-869-9999 /

Anthony Trama, Bloomfield Auto Body 973-748-2608 / BOARD ALLIED Joe Amato, The Amato Agency 732-530-6740 /

Mike Kaufmann, Advantage Dealer Services 973-332-7014 / PAST PRESIDENT ATTENDING Tom Elder, Compact Kars 609-259-6373 /

PUBLISHER Thomas Greco /

SALES DIRECTOR Alicia Figurelli /





VOLUME 47, NUMBER 9 | September 2017



24 52

57 66


by Joseph Sabino

28 Going Paperless: Letting Go of Resistance IN MEMORIAM

32 “An Unbelievable Person” AASP/NJ Remembers Roland Bonner FEATURE

by Tom Slear

38 Are Autonomous Cars a Real Threat to the Industry? Part Two Day of Reckoning

COVER STORY by Larry Montanez, III CDA




Charles Bryant • Mario DeFilippis • Jeff McDowell • Mitch Portnoi • Ron Ananian Keith Krehel • Jerry McNee • Bob Dirkes

Published by: Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc. 244 Chestnut Street, Suite 202, Nutley, NJ 07110 Corporate: (973) 667-6922 / FAX: (973) 235-1963

NEW JERSEY AUTOMOTIVE is published monthly and is sent to AASP/NJ and ARANJ members free of charge. Subscriptions are $24 per year. NEW JERSEY AUTOMOTIVE is published by Thomas Greco Publishing Inc., 244 Chestnut St., Nutley, NJ 07110. The editorial contents of NEW JERSEY AUTOMOTIVE are copyright © 2017 by Thomas Greco Publishing Inc. and may not be reproduced in any manner, either in whole or in part, without written permission from the publisher and/or editor. Articles in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Thomas Greco Publishing Inc. Stock Images courtesy of

Joe Amato, Sr. Ron Ananian Jim Bowers Charles Bryant Don Chard Guy Citro Pete Cook Ed Day Dave Demarest Phil Dolcemascolo Tom Elder

Bob Everett Thomas Greco Dan Hawtin Rich Johnson Wes Kearney Nick Kostakis Jim Kowalak Joe Lubrano Michael Lovullo Sam Mikhail Ron Mucklow

George Petrask Russ Robson Jerry Russomano George Threlfall Cynthia Tursi Lee Vetland Paul Vigilant Rich Weber Brian Vesley Glenn Villacari Stan Wilson

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Didn’t Get My GOAT If you want to have any chance of success in business, you have to have great customer service. Whether you’re a repair shop, a publishing company or a pizza place (wink), it doesn’t matter how good your talent or product is; ultimately, you’re going to have to deal with the customer and make them happy or lose their business. Of course, there are exceptions. Some customers are just jerks and deserve to be treated like jerks. But for the most part, ESPECIALLY in the Amazon world we live in, that old adage, “The customer is always right” still rings true. Allow me to elaborate. A few years ago, I wrote an article in this exact spot about how much I hated Yankees fans. Now, I didn’t really hate all Yankees fans. The majority of my family were Yankees diehards. My dad’s idol was Joe DiMaggio. My brother’s was Mickey Mantle. I was always partial to Jerry Kenney (only true Yankees fans will get that reference). But as you know, I am always one to root for the underdog. The Yankees have won 27 World Series. They will never be an underdog, at least in my lifetime. I felt it would be fun to take a shot at them and their fans. But I made a dumb mistake. I didn’t take into account that some, if not most, of our

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advertisers (not to mention our readers) were probably Yankees fans. A month or so after the issue came out, I received an email from one of those fans. They reminded me that it wasn’t smart to say you hate people who just happen to fund your company. And they were 100 percent right. That was a definite customer service f#$k up. I put my interests and opinions ahead of my customers’. It’s a mistake I won’t make (consciously at least) again. And I made certain to make it up to that customer. Something about biting the hand that feeds you… Call it karma or whatever, but that has come back to bite me quite often since I wrote that article. Most recently last month. My son wanted a new phone case for his 20th birthday and he sent me a link to a company called GOATcase. I went on the site and of course, like most people do, I then went on Amazon to see if I could get it cheaper. Surprisingly, it wasn’t on Amazon. THAT should have been a red flag. I went back to the original site and ordered the case. This was on August 2nd. They asked for all the usual information, including my Facebook page. A short time later, GOATcase messaged me

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on Facebook confirming my order. I wrote back asking if they could expedite the case since my son’s birthday was August 5th. I didn’t think it would be a problem since a) their warehouse was in Jersey and b) WE LIVE IN AN AMAZON WORLD where you can get anything overnight. The next day I received a message telling me the order would be shipped with the tracking number. By August 8th (three days AFTER my son’s birthday) I had heard nothing so I messaged them: “Tracking hasn’t been updated since Friday. Where is my package???” Hello, please email for any customer service inquiries. Regards, GOATcase So, I emailed them: “Tracking hasn’t been updated since Friday. Where is my package???” It seems that your package has been delayed by the carrier as it might not have been scanned or misplaced. I will have your order escalated with my dispatch team and ask the carrier to expedite it asap. Please allow us 4-5 business days to work with your order and we regret any inconvenience caused to you. Meanwhile, I would request you to please be patient with us. Thank you. It’s now August 14th. “Do you have an update?” I completely understand your frustration and would have reacted the same way. I have prioritized this case, and your order will be processed in a couple of days. I request your patience and please remain positive. Thank you. August 18th. “It’s now 15 days since I ordered the case and I only get an update when I initiate an email. Honestly, my patience has

run out. Either FedEx it to me for tomorrow or issue a refund. I can get magazines published, printed and mailed in two weeks. For a phone case? Unacceptable in an Amazon world.” I wish to inform you that your order has been lost by the shipping carrier. I would like to inform you that we will create a new order for you and you will not be charged for it. Thank you. “Will I be refunded for the original order?” We would create a new order for you against the previous order and it would reach you as soon as possible. Please let us know if we have your compliance for the same. Thank you. Okay. Now my blood was boiling. Is it me, or do you sense the condescension in their replies? There’s NOTHING I hate more than condescension (except Yankees fans – JOKE). I also did some research. I asked my son where he found this idiot company and he said he knew someone who knew the owners of the website. Apparently, they are a couple of millennials living the high life in a penthouse in Edgewater who got lucky and founded a money-making venture by being the middle man for this crap. August 20th. “Why would I give you my business after such horrible customer service? You’re out of Jersey correct? And you can’t get your product to me in less than three weeks? No thanks. Keep the case and refund my money.” I am sorry but as your shipping label has been printed we cannot cancel your order and provide you with a refund. The best I can do is to provide you a new order free of charge. Thank you.

continued on page 66

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks, by now you’ve surely heard about the body shop lawsuit in Texas. In this month’s cover story, Larry Montanez explores and comments on the deposition of

John Eagle Collision Center body shop manager Boyce Willis. The case is fascinating, but Willis’ remarks really speak volumes to the current state of our industry. When an insurance company urges you as the shop to


perform a repair a certain way or not be paid for the job - and this urging is in conflict with the OEM’s recommended procedure - what do you do? The answer should be a no-brainer, but unbelievably, for some, it’s not that clearcut. I encourage you to check out the story on page 44 and to also follow the case in the news. Part of the problem in being able to properly work on today’s technologically advanced vehicles is staying informed. That’s why it’s so important to keep yourself aware and stay current whether that’s keeping up with the trade press (starting here with New Jersey Automotive of course), following the various online media outlets or participating in industry events. Ideally, you should be doing all of these! If you’re able to take a few days out of the office to travel, the SEMA Show packs an incredible wealth of information and education into one week. The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has once again come up with an expansive slate of training opportunities October 30 - November 3, and if you have the opportunity to get to Las Vegas to be a part of it, you won’t be sorry. If you want to stay more local, AASP/NJ’s NORTHEAST 2018 Automotive Services Show will be here before you know it. Mark your calendars for March 16 - 18, 2018, and stay tuned for an announcement of our own about some awesome educational offerings being presented to NORTHEAST attendees by AASP/NJ and our industry partners. Add to this our newly announced Pavilion section - providing you with TWO floors of industry-leading exhibiting companies - and NORTHEAST 2018 will truly be a can’t-miss event. Finally, please check out page 52 to sign up for AASP/NJ’s 2017 Golf Outing if you haven’t done so already. This is your last chance, with this year’s event right around the corner on September 19. Head to the Colonia Country Club to network with colleagues and honor the memory of former Board member Lou Scoras. I’ll be there and I hope to see you there, too! NJA

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I want to start this message by asking one of the most important questions a collision shop owner needs to answer: Who is your customer — the owner of the vehicle being repaired or the insurance company paying the bill?

When an automobile is damaged and brought to a shop, the repairs will usually be paid for by a company that insures the vehicle or that is responsible for the damage caused by another party. Although it seems logical that the insurer paying the bill would be the customer (especially when it is the insurer negotiating with the facility on all aspects of the repair), that is not the case. Over the years, the insurance industry has drilled into the heads of shop owners that they have the right to dictate how vehicles will be repaired, what type of parts will be used, what repair procedures will be paid for and at what rate the shop will be compensated. A typical example of this is when an insurance appraiser is going over the repairs for a vehicle, the shop requests to be paid for a certain necessary procedure and the appraiser says, “Oh, we don’t pay for that” or “We only pay this much for that.” Another example is when the appraiser looks at the Labor Rate on the shop’s estimate and says something to the effect of, “We only pay X amount for the Labor Rate,” even though that amount is much less than what the shop normally charges. The typical shop’s response to this type of negotiation practice is, “Oh, okay.” This amazes me. These types of negotiations take place in the collision industry daily; for the most part, members of the collision industry believe insurance companies have the right to conduct themselves in this manner and that they have no choice but to accept what the insurer has dictated. I am here to tell you that this is untrue! First of all, insurance companies that attempt to negotiate the cost of repairs are required to act within the regulations that govern fair claims settlement practices in New Jersey. I’ve outlined those regulations below (with emphasis added to key areas): N.J.A.C. 11:3-10.3 Adjustment of partial losses (a) If the insurer intends to exercise its right to inspect, or cause to be inspected by an independent appraiser, damages prior to repair, the insurer shall have seven working days following receipt of notice of loss to inspect the insured’s damaged vehicle, which is available for inspection, at a place and time reasonably convenient to the insured; commence negotiations; and make a good faith offer of settlement. (b) Negotiations must be conducted in good faith, with the basic goal of promptly arriving at an agreed price. Early in negotiations, the insurer must inform and confirm in writing to the insured or the insured’s designated representative all deductions that will be made from the agreed price, including the amount of applicable deductible. (c) If the insurer inspects the damaged vehicle or causes it to be inspected, the insurer shall promptly upon completing the inspection furnish the insured or the designated representative of the insured with a detailed written estimate of the cost of repairing the damage resulting from the loss, specifying all appropriate deductions.

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(e) The insured may use any repair facility of his or her own choice. With respect to automobile damage claims, the insurer shall notify in writing any insured who elects to use his or her own repair facility that, pursuant to law, any entity engaged in the business of auto body repairs must be duly licensed. The notice shall further advise the insured that the insurer is prohibited by law from negotiating, adjusting or settling an automobile damage claim with an unlicensed facility. The written notice shall be furnished at the time of acknowledgement of the claim as provided in N.J.A.C. 11:2-17.6 or upon the furnishing of its written estimate, as specified in (c) above, whichever is sooner. The insurer shall make all reasonable efforts to obtain an agreed price with the facility selected by the insured.

Section (a) brings up a recurring issue. Insurers are constantly telling their insureds that they must go to a shop other than the one they have chosen for the repair, and some insurers will refuse to inspect the vehicle unless the insured goes to one of their DRP shops for that inspection. Having read section (b), there is no place in good faith negotiations for an insurer to say, “We don’t pay for that” or “We only pay X for that,” and then refuse to discuss that issue any further. Such conduct is not an example of good faith negotiations; it is an example of dictation rather than negotiation, which the insurer has no right to do. Section (c) raises another question: How many times have appraisers told collision shop owners that they can’t give them a copy of the estimate until they turn it in to a company to review first, only to find out that the final estimate doesn’t represent what was agreed upon between the appraiser and the shop? I can tell you I receive these types of calls on a regular basis. Lastly, section (e): Insurers are constantly attempting to steer insureds to specific repair shops that are on the company’s DRP. Yes, the steering is done in such a way that allows the insurers to get away with it most of the time. However, the next part of section (e) is a joke. The AASP/NJ Hot Line is constantly receiving calls from members informing us that insurers are refusing to negotiate the cost of repairs even when the shop has produced an OEM position statement making it clear that the procedure must be performed to repair the vehicle properly. With this knowledge, one must wonder why we have regulations that make it clear what insurers can and cannot do if they don’t follow the rules – and how they get away with it. I firmly believe the rules are there to give people a warm and fuzzy feeling these things exist to address these problems. Period! The problem is that they don’t work. The regulations are written in such a way that a violation is only considered valid when it is done so enough times to create a general business practice. The NJ Department of Banking and Insurance continued on page 56

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WE KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. YOU WANT TO KNOW IF THE PART’S IN STOCK, HOW MUCH IT COSTS, AND WHEN IT’S GONNA GET THERE. We get it. You want the best part for a Toyota, but you’ve got to know when and how much. Well, now you can. In addition to tools that can help you find and order the right VIN-based parts, now you can see if it’s in stock, schedule the delivery, even see your shop’s net price from your participating Toyota Dealer.* Now you’re thinking: “Cool!”

©2014 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

For Toyota Genuine Parts please call one of these authorized local Toyota Dealers: Toyota of Hackensack 278 River Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601 Toll Free: 888-PARTS-28 Direct: 201-488-5756 Fax: 201-487-2618

Toyota of Morristown 169 Ridgedale Ave, Morristown, NJ 08960 Toll Free: 800-541-1127 Fax: 973-292-0872

Crestmont Toyota 730 State Route 23 North, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444 Toll Free: 800-839-6444 Fax: 973-839-9050

Glen Toyota 23-07 Maple Ave, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410 Toll Free: 800-444-1959 Direct: 201-791-1133 Fax: 201-703-5652

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DROP AND RUN Think about the last job that came into your shop. After you got the keys from the customer and determined the damage, did you have your tech immediately look up the OEM repair procedures for that vehicle? If not, you may have just put your entire career – and the careers of your staff – on the line. Before you start thinking to yourself that you repair that kind of car all the time and there’s no need to worry, consider the fact that OEM repair information changes all the time. You repaired a car like that last month? It doesn’t matter; look up the current information for it and you might be shocked to discover that something has changed. With that in mind, do you see how crazy it is to just blindly accept how an insurer wants a repair to be conducted? Look, I understand the realities you’re all facing in trying to get an insurer to go along with OEM position statements and procedures. Often, the insurer will come in, take one look at your estimate and

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immediately cut it to pieces. We all know that “drop and run” scenario where you get tied up on the phone and see the insurance appraiser throw the estimate on your desk and get out of there as fast as possible. That’s when you realize the estimate is $2,000 off. You didn’t write your estimate for your health; you wrote it because those things were needed to get that car back on the road. Instead of getting the go-ahead to start the job and do it the correct way, you now have to jump through hoops. At my shop, we go back to that estimate, circle everything the insurance appraiser missed and call them back. If you do this same thing and you’re lucky, you’ll get them to agree to what the manufacturer says to do; if you’re not lucky, you still repair the vehicle and either eat the costs or pass them along to the customer. We can’t stop doing our jobs just because the insurance industry refuses to do theirs. We have no choice but to be professionals and get the job done in a manner deemed


appropriate by the OEMs. What we should never do is take shortcuts and compromise the integrity of the repair. If you do that, you’re setting yourself up for major liability and economic failure. If you’re one of the offending shops, you might be living comfortably now as the jobs roll in and out, but what happens when a bad repair leads to a major accident or takes someone’s life? Do you think the insurer will stand by your side in court and defend their estimate? I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we’ll see 10,000 less shops in the US in the coming years as technology and business demands take facilities out of the game. Are you going to survive, or are you going to close your own doors by doing something careless? Our industry is one of constant change. If you are not taking the time to do the right thing and look up the correct repair information on a constant basis, you might as well close your doors today. NJA

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For Original BMW Parts, contact one of these authorized BMW centers: BMW of Springfield 391-399 Route 22 E. Springfield, NJ 07081 Toll Free: 800-648-0053 Fax: 973-467-2185

BMW of Freehold 4225 Route 9 North Freehold, NJ 07728 PH: 732-462-6286 Fax: 732-577-0518

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Flemington BMW 216 Route 202/31 Flemington, NJ 08822 PH: 877-657-2787 Fax: 908-782-1795

Princeton BMW 3630 Quaker Bridge Road Hamilton, NJ 08619 PH: 609-570-1611 Fax: 609-570-1602

Wide World BMW 125 East Route 59 Spring Valley, NY 10977 PH: 877-817-3895 Fax: 845-425-5080

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Circle BMW 500 Route 36 Eatontown, NJ 07724 Parts Direct: 732-440-1235 Fax: 732-440-1239

Paul Miller BMW 1515 Route 23 South Wayne, NJ 07470 PH: 973-696-6060 Fax: 973-696-8274

Park Ave BMW 530 Huyler Street South Hackensack, NJ 07606 PH: 201-843-8112 FAX:201-291-2376

BMW of Bridgewater 655 Route 202/206 Bridgewater, NJ 08807 PH: 908-287-1800 FAX:908-722-1729

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SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 Steel Unitized Structures Technologies and Repair Hampton Inn by Hilton, Mt Laurel SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 Wheel Alignment & Diagnostic Angles Hampton Inn, Swedesboro SEPTEMBER 9, 2017 Ford F-150 Structural Repair Training Course (30G24T0) Allstate Insurance, Wall Township SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 Understanding the Cycle Time Process Allstate Insurance, Wall Township Plastic & Composite Repair Hampton Inn by Hilton, Mt Laurel Wheel Alignment & Diagnostic Angles Innovative Solutions & Technology, Lincoln Park SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 Understanding the Cycle Time Process Holiday Inn & Suites, Parsippany SEPTEMBER 20, 2017 Steel Unitized Structures Technologies and Repair Allstate Insurance, Wall Township SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 Squeeze-Type Resistance Spot Welding Reliable Automotive Equipment, Belford SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 Squeeze-Type Resistance Spot Welding Innovative Solutions & Technology, Lincoln Park SEPTEMBER 27, 2017 Adhesive Bonding Allstate Insurance, Wall Township SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 Aluminum Exterior Panel Repair & Replacement Reliable Automotive Equipment, Belford Corrosion Protection Holiday Inn & Suites, Parsippany

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For more information, visit


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BUSINESS INSIGHT By Joseph Sabino Years ago, when the file jacket first came out, we thought it was a great thing. That lasted a pretty long time. It was a good tool and an improvement for its time, but the need for change has arrived. As smart management knows, it’s time to start utilizing technology. GET READY TO GO PAPERLESS. Most are resistant to change. Going paperless means change and let’s face it, it’s hard to overcome the inertia along with trying to run your business at the same time. That’s especially true if we feel comfortable, overly set in our ways or just plain lazy. But sometimes the change can be so beneficial that it’s really and truly worth the effort. To ease the transition in the beginning, there are several options you can

implement to get started. Sometimes it helps to use both paper and technology until a level of comfort is achieved. You could also attend a class or hire a consultant to get you up and running. Imagine the benefits in the time savings alone if you stop copying everything – parts invoices, direction of pay, tow bills, etc. Technology has evolved to such a level of user friendliness that the ease of



use will help you overcome your inertia. Parts invoices and photos can easily be attached to files. The entire paper file transforms into an electronic file. Couple that with a management system, and now you’re talking time savings, profitability and progress. If you want to take your business to the next level, the key is overcoming your resistance and going paperless. Once you overcome the fear of

technology and embrace these user-friendly systems, you’ll discover you’re operating on a whole new playing field. Time management, file management and even production tracking will suddenly be at your fingertips, and you’ll find new tools and insights to optimize your business. NJA

Joe began his career in the automotive industry nearly three decades ago. Working in a few small and busy shops, he found himself suddenly placed in leadership roles in response to throughput demand. During those years, he developed a resultsoriented leadership approach and thorough understanding of all levels and aspects of the auto body shop. He took that experience with him when he accepted an offer to join Allstate, a major automotive insurer. Within the insurance arena, he received an education of the regulatory guidelines and insurance side of the industry. After several years working for the large corporation, Joe took to the road. He became an independent adjuster, which solidified his multifaceted tour of the body shop industry. Now, Joe offers this unparalleled experience and global knowledge of the industry to auto body shops as a consultant. As a specialist in all phases of the business, he designs a custom application of his skills to meet individual shop needs. 28 | New Jersey Automotive | September 2017

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Superior service starts with superior parts. Rely on what Mazda drivers already know-Genuine Mazda parts extend a car's life. Designed specifically for Mazda vehicles Get the right part the first time We're an accurate, trusted resource as close as your phone Give us the opportunity to serve you Contact these Mazda dealers for all your parts needs: Maxon Mazda 2329 Route 22 West Union, NJ 07083 Phone: 800-964-7281 Fax: 908-851-5631

Nu Car Mazda 172 North Dupont Highway New Castle, DE 19720 Phone: 800-346-5283 Fax: 302-322-7135

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Mazda of Lodi 130 Route 46 East Lodi, NJ 07644 Phone: 866-716-0511 Fax: 973-594-4933

Wayne Mazda 1244 Route 23 North Wayne, NJ 07470 Phone: 973-646-0333 Fax: 973-694-1700

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AASP/NJ Remembers Roland Bonner On July 20, the AASP/NJ community was stunned to learn of the sudden passing of former AASP/NJ Mechanical Shop of the Year award recipient, Roland Bonner, at the age of 51. A lifelong car enthusiast, Bonner exemplified time and again his perseverance and generous nature. He was a devoted family man who loved his wife of 26 years, Darlene, and never failed to remind his two children, Roland and Elena, how proud he was of their accomplishments. Bonner made a name for himself in the industry through his time at Marmora Shell in Marmora and Dorsey’s Old Place in Corbin City. His employees remember him best for how he even made work enjoyable, as anyone that knew him

could attest to his dry sense of humor. Towards the end of his life, he became interested in the physical and mental endurance of triathlon training. He was seen by the locals of the Corbin City/ Tuckahoe area swimming in the Tuckahoe River countless times, and he himself would tell you the downright ridiculous number of miles he ran or biked. Anyone who knew him can attest to the fierce dedication he possessed with everything he did. His zeal for life and passion to better his community will never be forgotten. AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell credits Bonner for his work (alongside Past President Bob Everett) in building up the mechanical side of the association

in the early 2000s. He remembers the former Board member as a true professional who went above and beyond to support his industry. “Roland used to come all the way up from Southern Jersey – probably a two-hour ride – just to come to a meeting. He never missed them. He’d be there, then he’d have a two-hour ride home. His level of commitment was unbelievable; he would do anything that was asked of him. Good people like Roland are hard to find.” “Roland Bonner was a great asset to our industry,” comments Everett. “He was a thoughtful and reserved man, but he had strong opinions and convictions on many things, not just work-related. We spent many nights heading up the Garden State Parkway – racing

The Greater Tuckahoe Area Merchants Association has set up a Memorial Fund for Bonner’s family. Information on how to donate is available at You may also send donations via mail to GTAMA, PO Box 656, Tuckahoe, NJ 08250-0656.

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when he was driving, cruising when I was – to AASP/NJ and other meetings, discussing lots of business and life issues. I could always count on his counsel, and considered his opinions very valuable. “In recent years, he had scaled back his repair shop and concentrated on retail business, and found triathlon competitions to be a new passion,” Everett adds. “We had many pleasant Facebook conversations, catching up on things. His pride in and devotion to his family was outstanding. Oh, and he and his wife could cut quite the rug on the dance floor when the music started! I was so sorry and shocked to hear of his sudden passing; he will be missed by many.” New Jersey Automotive publisher and longtime AASP/NJ Board member Thomas Greco remembers Bonner as a kind man who always kept his industry friends close to his heart. “Roland was never one to say much at our meetings, but he certainly focused on what we were doing, especially when it came to our mechanical members. His dedication to making the industry better was amazing. When I heard about his passing, I was shocked – particularly because just a few weeks prior, I received an email from him. We hadn’t kept in touch; to be honest, I don’t think we had communicated for five10 years. But he wrote a wonderful letter saying how he looked forward to reading New Jersey Automotive each month and how much he missed being a part of the association. More importantly, he wrote of how happy he was and how proud he was of his children and family. Just a wonderful, wonderful guy.” AASP/NJ Treasurer Tom Elder echoes Greco’s remembrances. “Roland was an unbelievable person. He was so animated and so caring about everybody he touched. Out of the clear blue sky, he’d pick up

the phone and call you. He was amazing that way, and a super family man as well. He was a character who everybody on our Board loved; he always added a lot to what we did every day.” At the time of his passing, Bonner was serving as president of the Greater Tuckahoe Area Merchants Association. The group posted the following tribute to him on their Facebook page:

We are saddened at the unexpected passing of our President and “fearless leader,” Roland Bonner. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Roland’s family and friends. We will all miss him - and his beautiful smile - very much. We are hoping that our community will help to honor his memory and support his family during their time of grief. NJA

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Are Autonomous Cars

a Real Threat to the Industry?

Part Two of an Exclusive Series

Day of

By Tom Slear



od Lipson, an engineering professor at Columbia University in New York City, co-wrote the book, Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead, that came out last year. It’s a thorough and enjoyable read that covers autonomous vehicles from their crudest forms 100 years ago to their current renditions that are nearly roadworthy. Throughout the book, Lipson also does a good bit of predicting, and what he had to say about the collision repair industry wasn’t hopeful.

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“The body shop, where people fix cars after collisions – that’s going away,” he told Columbia Magazine. No doubt that vehicles driven by software instead of humans will transform the auto body industry (as well as the car manufacturing and insurance industries), but to say body shops will disappear is a hefty stretch. Lipson conceded as much when asked to expand on his doomsday quote. As the number of accidents decrease with the advent of autonomous vehicles, he said via email, “Certain industry sectors, like body repair and auto insurance, will experience a decline.” Whew! Good to know a few shops will still be around in the coming years.

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In fact, the rate of accidents has been decreasing for decades. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 1963 there were 7.92 accident claims per 100 vehicles. By 2013, that frequency had dropped 55 percent to 3.55 claims per 100 vehicles. Both the severity of claims and the increase in total numbers of cars on US highways—up from around 80 million in the early 1960s to over 200 million today—are the cause of the apparent death toll for the collision industry. What cost $183 per automotive claim in 1963 jumped to $3,231 in 2013, a whopping leap that far outpaced inflation. Could it be that past is prologue as it relates to autonomous vehicles and the collision industry? Collision shop manager Bill Hawkins (BMW of Annapolis, MD) thinks so. As he says, “We’ll still have teenagers with cell phones in non-autonomous vehicles.” True enough, at least for the foreseeable future. Though systems such as autonomous cruise control are in cars today, they are only the third step in a series of six in the march to full autonomy (see sidebar on page 40). Cars that can drive themselves in just about any conditions – and in the process significantly reduce accident frequency – won’t populate roads in any noticeable numbers for another 10 or 15 years. Furthermore, enhanced complexity has been the history of automotive development. Hawkins recently had a 1971 BMW in his shop for inspection. A look under the hood startled him. He could have dropped a stone from nearly anywhere above the engine and it would have fallen unhindered to the ground. “Try that with recent cars,” he says. “Never happens.” In high and fully autonomous cars, just the wiring and boards to support digital maps, digital cameras, radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), GPS, ultrasonic sensors and inertial measurement units won’t allow even a pin to pass through. But will the price of repairs continue to rise into the era when driving becomes hands and feet free? “The trend of auto body repair costs has always been higher than inflation and there is nothing technology is doing that would promise to lower that,” says James Lynch, chief actuary for the Insurance Information Institute. “The average cost of repair will continue to go up.” Joe Schneider, managing director at KPMG’s autonomous vehicle and auto insurance task force, agrees with Lynch up to a point. As cars become overwhelmingly electronic – “supercomputers on wheels,” he says – they will follow the historical trend of electronic innovation, which has been: better, smaller and cheaper. By 2050, Schneider believes the cost of claims and associated expenses could drop by as much as 63 percent. Meanwhile, roads will fill with more and more driverless cars, which is to say, vehicles that don’t drive distracted, are always sober and are free of emotion. The number of accidents could decrease by 80 percent or more, and the total number of cars will likely shrink with the emergence of on-demand fleets of autonomous cars. “That could be a game changer,” Schneider says, “and could also be the end of the two-car household.”


Lynch and Schneider are looking into crystal balls and seeing two very different endings, which is no surprise. Crystal balls have a habit of turning cloudy the farther they glimpse into the future. Over the next 20 to 30 years, numerous variables could enter the equation and alter the outcomes. In the next 10 years, will federal and state regulators, either by design or bureaucratic inertia, slow down the timetable that has autonomous vehicles on roads for other than test purposes? Will car owners cling to driving more adamantly than car manufacturers and software providers believe? Will that segment of artificial intelligence called deep learning progress so that the software controlling cars can process input from dozens of sensors and come up with situational awareness on a level that humans can? And most important for collision shops: How will the issue of liability play out when vehicles are not controlled by drivers? When an autonomous Toyota meets up with an autonomous Ford, who will pay for the repair? A strong possibility is that car manufacturers will absorb the liability of their autonomous vehicles. Volvo, Mercedes and Google have already said as much. Insurance will be part of the sale and if the car’s software perceives the dark spot ahead as a shadow instead of another car and results in a crash, the manufacturer will pay for the repairs. Since manufacturers will be liable for the car’s performance once it’s back on the road, they will undoubtedly want to have a lot of say over where and how the car is repaired. One thought is that manufacturers will absorb collision shops, thereby ensuring close supervision of all repairs. That’s possible though not likely. Manufacturers’ core business is building and marketing cars. They won’t want to own shops any more than insurance companies do. A more probable scenario will have repairs taking place at shops certified by the manufacturers as a condition for a warranty to continue after an accident. “I don’t think this will be just because of autonomous vehicles,” says Aaron Clark, vice president of Assured Performance Network in Laguna Hills, CA. “Vehicle technology in general has caused car manufacturers to become more and more concerned about having cars fixed at shops that have the proper tools and equipment, have technicians with the proper training and follow proper repair procedures.”


Clark envisions a system where not only the shop is certified annually by the manufacturer, but each repair is documented in copious detail. A technician with proper training specifies approved repair procedures, equipment and parts used. If the repair is questioned after a subsequent accident, the manufacturer can rely on the shop to provide proof that will stand up in court. “It’s all about training,” says Charlie Bryant, AASP/NJ executive director. “A guy who is simply good with his hands and not good with his brain – he won’t touch these cars. He’ll have to go to school or find something else to do.”

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SAE International has developed the industry standard for autonomous vehicles which consists of six levels: Level 0 – No Automation Level 1 – Driver Assistance, such as adaptive cruise control, which many cars have now. Level 2 – Partial Automation, such as controlling speed and steering simultaneously. “Tesla, Audi, and Mercedes have Level Two now,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair. “They help you drive, but you must keep your hands on the wheel.”

“The investment in training to repair (autonomous cars) will be far beyond what’s needed to repair cars now,” says Rick Starbard, owner of Rick’s Auto Collision in Revere, MA. “Body shops will look more like labs. I think we will see a major shaking out of the industry along the way.” The days of the generalist will likely end. Shops will have to choose which make of cars to repair and then invest in appropriate training and equipment. There could be tiers among certified shops. A shop that has a particular set of equipment as well as technicians with certain training will be able to accept some models of Honda, for example, but not others. The good news is that the long-standing practice of insurance companies pushing cars to shops who comply with certain Labor Rates and cycle times will come to an end. The car manufacturers will have a financial interest in a complete and proper repair. The bad news is that body shops and car manufacturers will be attached at the hip more securely than has ever been the case with body shops and insurance companies. Shops might be independent in name only. Starbard is 54. Retirement is on the horizon, which is just as well because he’s not sure he’s up for yet another shakeout, at least not one of this magnitude. He’s happy to leave that to younger shop owners. “This will be a day of reckoning,” he says. “More than anything I’ve witnessed in my career. I really believe that.” NJA

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Level 3 – Conditional Automation, where all facets of driving are autonomous, but if the controlling software detects a problem, it will signal for the driver take control. “This is not real viable,” Nielsen says. “It might take 30 seconds for the driver to reengage after the car recognizes a problem that’s only a few seconds out.” Citing the inherent dangers of such a handoff, Ford has already said it will skip this level. Other manufacturers are likely to follow. Level 4 – High Automation, no driver needed. The current gold standard for manufacturers. The controlling system can manage all driving tasks. Despite the pervasive automation, these vehicles will be equipped with steering wheels and brake pedals and gas pedals. Level Four vehicles will start appearing on US highways within the next five to 10 years, initially as part of fleet transportation providers in urban areas. (Think Uber or Lyft without the drivers.) Level 5 – Full Automation – no human controls. When Level Five autonomous vehicles will be ready for consumers is tough to say. Some estimates say 10 years, others go as far out as 2040, and still others say maybe, well… “I don’t see myself in a fully autonomous car,” says SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “And I’m not sure individuals will own autonomous cars, at least not in my lifetime.”

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The Shocking Truth about Accountability


by Larry Montanez, III CDA

ell, the industry is once again in a panic, and many are confused. Before you read this article, please watch the online news report found at Shocked? You should be. This case has brought out all kinds of opinions from the collision repair and insurance industries, and neither side are experts on the subject. The opinions presented and posted on social media range from a few well thought-out questions and observations to the most asinine statements ever made on collision damage and accident reconstruction. Some of the mathematics posted by some, such as the idea that two vehicles impacting each other at 75mph headon produce 150mph of impact, are so incorrect it makes you ask, “Who ties your shoes in the morning?” The deposition of shop manager Boyce Willis was posted online though Repairer Driven News (repairer The comments and the statements on social media about Willis’ answers run the gamut from funny memes to light bashing to significant bashing – but is he really the rarity and just misinformed, or is he more the norm within this industry of ignorance? The following are some of his answers to deposition questions – along with my comments and commentary that will set the record straight. Kristen Felder (founder and owner of Collision Hub), Marc Gabbard (creator of the Facebook group Collision Repair Technicians United, or CRTU), Mike Anderson (Collision Advice) and I have mentioned many times on social media that there could eventually be significant injury and/or death of a vehicle occupant in a collision. We’ve also discussed the subsequent legal storm that could expose the liability of the repair facility and all employees involved who can be tied to a recent repair. One example found online is the story of a mechanic charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment (“Liability: Where Do You Stand?” New England Automotive Report November 2015 – available at Many on the CRTU group mention the idiotic excuses Willis stated; even after the situation was explained, these people were dead wrong or they fell on the proverbial sword excuse of, “I have a family to feed and can’t lose my job. I am only doing what I am told to do.”

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Deposition Overview Since 2007, Willis has been the collision facility manager at John Eagle Collision in Dallas, TX. His answers in the testimony may be some of the most idiotic, misinformed ones we have ever read in a deposition, court testimony or any other transcripts from a legal proceeding. However, what made it so bad for him and for the collision repair industry in general, besides being a high-profile case, is that the OEM repair procedures and protocols were ignored and people were injured, which may or may not have been exacerbated by the incorrect repair procedures. Additionally, the lawyer in this case has mentioned he will be looking into other repairs made by the facility. Before I begin with the deposition overview (my comments are in blue italic), consider this: Unfortunately, history repeats itself, and the Nazis during the Nuremberg Trials attempted the same excuse as the one cited below. The final verdict and tally in those trials was 12 death sentences, three life in prison with no chance of parole sentences, two 20-year sentences, one 15-year sentence, one 10-year sentence and three acquittals due to improper police arrest procedures. What will the fallout of this case bring if John Eagle Collision is found guilty? Willis, the technician, the so-called consultant (who wrongly advised and either approved or convinced the facility to use incorrect and unapproved repair methods and materials) and even the facility owner could be sued civilly, and a case could be made for criminal negligence. What could this mean to the collision repair industry? It has been reported that the plaintiff lawyer (Mr. Tracy) plans to go after more repairers and more facilities. 1. From 1982 through 2007, Willis was a parts manager, but stated he has no actual collision repair experience, training or education. This is a common issue in the repair industry, where those chosen for managerial decision-making positions have little to no automotive repair knowledge and are more or less “number crunchers” who can manage people. In some cases, a lead decision-maker is a former technician who attempts to impose their own past experiences on repair decisions, which in many cases are incorrect or outdated. Regardless, it is always discovered that the OEM repair procedures were not referenced or utilized. 2. The powers that be at Eagle decided that Willis should be the corporate representative. In my opinion, they made a bad choice in two major areas. For starters, Willis is not educated enough on collision repair procedures, the state’s collision repair business rules and regulations, the state’s insurance rules and regulations and the state’s consumer protection laws and regulations for fair and equitable claims settlement practices and statutes. 3. It is obvious by the answers Willis provided that he was not prepared properly prior to the deposition. This evidence suggests the lawyer for Eagle was not prepared or trained for this type of case. Industry attorney Erica Eversman and I have worked together many times on many cases where we had to train the lawyers and witnesses on the facts as opposed to the myths, and where to find the facts. Remember: It is not about what you think in a lawsuit; it is about the law and the facts. The quote, “You are entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts,” has never been more accurate based on what we are seeing in this case. 4. Attorney Tracy asked Willis, “Do you agree, as the voice of John Eagle Collision Center, that when someone takes their vehicle to your certified body shop to be repaired after a vehicle collision or hail damage, people trust that the body repairs will be performed according to the vehicle manufacturer’s repair specifications? Willis answered; “Yes. According to the insurance company.” a. There are two major issues here with this answer. Obviously, “yes” is the correct answer, but “according to the insurance company” is the completely incorrect answer. b. Many states mention in the rules, regulations and/or laws for consumer protection, insurance or repair facility licensing that the repairer should have a fiduciary obligation to the consumer. Fiduciary is commonly defined as: A person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another,” or “Of, based

on, or in the nature of trust and confidence, as in public affairs of the general public.” c. The insurance company only has three choices for claims settlements. One would be to pay for the value of the vehicle (i.e., total loss and pay the ACV). Another would be to pay for the repairs in monies or, thirdly, repair the vehicle themselves (which they cannot). d. The correct answer should have been, “Yes, as per the OEM repair procedures, protocols and materials as outlined in the repair manual information.” 5. Attorney Tracy asked: “Do you agree that if a certified body shop does not repair the vehicle to the vehicle manufacturer’s repair specifications, and then someone is seriously injured or killed because of a repair failure, that the body shop is responsible?” Willis answered: “Yes.” a. This would be correct. However, once again, the use of the word “certified” has now been stretched so far that it’s become ambiguous. In many cases, it is now thrown around without meaning. b. As I have written many times before, to be certified in the collision repair industry there must be a number of components. One is training – which would include online, self-study with testing, classroom with testing – and must include hands-on skill-based practical training and testing, as well as periodical on-site inspections without notice and annual or semi-annual training and testing to ensure the technicians’ knowledge and skills are up to the standards set by the particular OEM. 6. Tracy asked: “If you don’t follow […] the manufacturer’s repair rules, and then someone’s injured or killed because those repair rules weren’t followed, you’re responsible for all the harms and losses, aren’t you, sir?” Willis answered: “To a certain extent.” a. This answer is correct and ambiguous enough to force more specific questions. 7. Tracy asked, “As a certified body shop for the OEM manufacturers, [you] will bring your vehicle back to the vehicle manufacturer’s repair specifications, correct?” Willis answered: “Or better, yes.” a. Uh-oh. Bad answer. It is just, “Yes.” How can anyone make it better than the manufacturer originally designed? Yes, an argument can be made for tested highperformance components, but what is given up for that additional performance? Drivability or longevity, in many cases. 8. Tracy asked, “And on Exhibit Number 18, John Eagle Collision Center installed a new high-strength steel roof on Mr. Scroggins’ 2010 Honda Fit in July 2012, correct?” Willis: “Can I interject?” Tracy: “Sure.” Willis: “That’s not a high-strength steel roof. It’s just a regular panel roof.” Tracy: “Okay. So that’s despite the fact that [the estimate] he had received was for a high-strength steel roof?” Willis: “The Honda does not make high-strength steel panels. You can call Honda, and they’ll tell you directly. There is no such thing as a highstrength steel panel. High-strength gets measured by tensile. And for it to be high-strength, it has to be 590. A panel roof, whether it be a hood or a door, are all 270.” Tracy: “And mega pascals for Advanced·High-Strength Steel (AHSS) is from 270 to 490. And then Ultra-High Strength Steel (UHSS) is anything above 570. Did you know that?”

(Note: Some of the quotes included herein have been edited and/or paraphrased for space and clarity. A complete transcript of the deposition is available online at New Jersey Automotive | September 2017 | 45

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Willis: “No. I just talked to Honda, [the] Honda tech line, and they said the panels are not high-strength.” a. The roof panel is 270MPa/39,160psi which is classified as low-grade conventional High-Strength Steel (HSS). Willis is incorrect. Additionally, Willis answered “no” to processing knowledge of the UHSS of 570. He is not a metallurgist and should have said that is not his area of expertise. b. Tracy is incorrect on AHSS being 270MPa to 490MPa. It is actually classified in a range of 590MPa and higher; on most charts, it is listed as 590MPa to 1200MPa to 1500MPa. 9. Tracy asked, “When you say that it was a 3M 8115 product, is that because that’s what was customary within John Eagle Collision Center back in the 2012 time period?” Willis answered: “It is. It is an accepted repair alternative, based on our cars and insurance certifications.” a. Willis’ answer is not only incorrect, but ignorant, as there are no insurance certifications for collision repair. b. 3M 8115 is not an accepted repair alternative. There is no manual in the collision repair industry that is titled “Accepted Repair Alternative.” This thinking is generally due to incorrect statements made by instructors, technicians, “clown-sultants” or sales representatives in training classes, repair workshops or in the facility itself. c. I have no idea or reasoning as to why Willis answered “based on our cars.” It makes no sense whatsoever. 10. Tracy asked: “And let’s have an agreement today that we don’t use the word insurance. Can we? Is that cool?” Willis: “Well, unfortunately we’re guided by insurance. So if you brought your car into my shop, right, the insurance company’s going to dictate what – how we’re going to repair your car.” a. Wow. Just wow. Willis shows his ignorance once again. The insurance company cannot dictate anything once they decide on the option to pay for repairs in monies. The insurer is not liable for what repairs the repair facility attempts or performs. They are not the repair professional. 11. Tracy asked, “I understand. But [you] are a certified body shop […] the insurance company cannot trump the OEM specifications, correct, sir?”

Willis: “There is no documentation.” a. Willis just confirmed they deviated from what the OEM (in this case, HONDA) requires for the replacement of the roof panel. 14. Tracy asked: “So, John Eagle Collision Center – they made a conscious decision to use adhesive to glue this roof in place?” Willis: “Yes.” Tracy: “And it was not a mistake?” Willis: “No.” Tracy: “It was not an error?” Willis: “No.” Tracy: “It was deliberate?” Willis: “Yes.” Tracy: “And it says – under “Warning” – what does that say – that’s highlighted?” Willis: “You can be killed or seriously hurt if you don’t follow instructions.” Tracy: “And this is – this is John Eagle’s Bible that they have to follow, right?” Willis answered: “Yes.” Tracy: “This is [the] OEM, Honda Motor Company, Ltd., […] telling John Eagle, you better follow this, right?” Willis: “Well, they don’t tell you, you better follow it, but it’s – it’s a guide to repairing a car.” Tracy: “It’s the – it’s the body repair Bible, right?” Mr. Reese: “Objection to form.” Willis: “Supposedly, yes.” a. So, let’s recap. Willis admitted under oath that they deviated from the HONDA repair procedures. They made a deliberate and conscious decision to not follow the HONDA procedures. b. Willis admits, “You can be killed or seriously hurt if you don’t follow instructions.” c. Willis states that the HONDA repair manual is a guide to repairing the vehicle (go look up the definition of a guide). When Tracy likened the repair manual to the body repair Bible, Willis answered: “Supposedly, yes.” So, Willis does understand that the repair manual is the Bible to repairing a specific vehicle, but also states it is a guide. Wow. I wonder if he will run for government office with that flip-flop attitude. 15. Tracy asked: “All right. Did Ignacio “Nacho” Figuereno know about Exhibit 202?”

Willis: “Yes, they can.” Tracy: “Where does it say that?” Willis: “By not paying the bill.” a. Do I need to point out Willis’ ignorance and delusions yet again? The insurer does not pay the repair facility on any customer’s repair. The insurer owes the insured or claimant the monies once liability is accepted. b. The insurance company can never “trump” or overrule the OEM specific repair protocols, procedures, position statements or required materials. 12. Tracy asked: “So don’t you have to have certain parameters [to be a certified body shop]?” Willis answered: “To be a certified body shop you have to be fully I-CAR certified.” a. For someone in the collision repair industry for over 12 years, Willis is pretty misinformed about what I-CAR does. I-CAR does not certify anyone. Go look at their website or watch the Collision Hub video from the 2017 NACE Automechanika show in Chicago “What Does I-CAR Say” ( I-CAR trains. Plus, the HONDA repair manual overrules anyone else’s opinion as to what should or should not be done on their vehicles. 13. Tracy asked: “When [technician] Mr. Figuereno decided to use adhesives. Tell me the name of any Honda Motor Company, Ltd. body repair document that authorized John Eagle Collision Center to use adhesive to glue a new roof back on a 2009-2013 Honda Fit?” Mr. Reese, defense attorney: “Objection; form. You can answer.”

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Willis answered: “He has – he has access to it.” Tracy: “Where do you have access to it?” Willis: “Through the parts department.” a. Through the parts department? This is another issue plaguing the collision repair industry. Why don’t the technicians have their own access to look up the repair procedures and protocols? Relying on the parts department to obtain the proper information is negligent, unnecessary and unproductive. 16. Tracy asked: “And part of your job as a certified repair facility is to make certain that your repairs meet or exceed the manufacturer’s recommended repair methods so that their vehicles can continue to meet the standards, correct?” Willis: “I agree.” a. Willis agrees that as a certified repair facility, they are to make certain to meet the manufacturer’s repair methods, but still made a conscious and deliberate decision to deviate from the HONDA repair procedures. 17. Tracy asked: “It’s easy to get access to this repair manual as a certified shop?” Willis: “Yes.” Tracy: “In fact, you plug in Did you know that?” Willis: “No. I go to the parts department.” Tracy: “You just go to the parts department?” Willis: “Yeah.” Tracy: “And did you know as a certified body shop facility that they can plug that website in and it will ask you what vehicle you need information on?” Willis: “Yes.”

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Tracy: “That’s not surprising, right?” Willis: “No.” Tracy: “And, in fact, it will tell you various updates on, you know, on our repair manual; did you know that?” Willis: “Yes.” Tracy: “And it will also give you information about body repair news; did you know that?” Willis: “Yes.” a. Obviously, based on the answers from Willis to the above questions, he has knowledge of the HONDA tech info website and what information is provided within the site, but he still ignores the access and goes to the parts department to ask for information. Maybe they should have gone to McDonald’s or Starbucks for the information? 18. Tracy asked: “Is the 3M 8115 an approved item?” Willis: “No.” Tracy: “Well, who approved it for use on Honda vehicles? Who approved 3M 8115 for use on Honda vehicles, specifically the 2009-2013 Honda Fit? Who approved it?” Willis: “Are you talking about as a manufacturer or…” Tracy: “At the collision center. Because no one at Honda has approved the 3M 8115 product to be used.” Willis: “That would be the collision center.” Tracy: “Who at the collision center approved it? Who did that?” Willis answered: “Back in 2012, it would have been Brian Cunningham.” Tracy: “Brian Cunningham. And what was his job title?” Willis: “He was actually put in over me for a short period of time.” Tracy: “And what was his job title?” Willis: “Director.” Tracy: “He came over you despite the fact that you were the director of the body shop. He came over you and you sort of…” Willis: “He’s kind of like a consultant-type of deal.” a. So once again, Willis admits that 3M 8115 bonding adhesive is not an approved repair procedure to install the HONDA roof panel, but admits to ignoring the warning that it is not approved and used it anyway. b. Willis also admits to taking the advice of a so-called consultant, Cunningham. I am sure you are all like me and cannot wait to hear what Cunningham has to say. 19. Tracy asked: “How long was he with John Eagle Collision or John Eagle Collision Center?” Willis answered: “Probably, say, two and a half years, I think.” a. Willis states Cunningham was there for two and half years. I wonder how many other vehicle repairs were altered due to a deliberate and conscious decision to ignore the OEMrequired repair procedures and protocols in that two-and-a-half-year period – and even after that time to present.

Conclusion Some of you might be thinking, “WOW. REALLY? Can anyone be that misinformed?” The sad truth and very harsh reality is that a lot of shop management, estimators and ownership think this way. This is especially true with the more corporate-type facilities – with the suits and ties running the show – and even those facilities that are on DRPs. The lies, deceptions and myths resonating within the collision repair industry are out of control, and the uninformed consumer is the one who is put at risk. This Honda Fit case is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be more to come just like it, and many shops will be put under the microscope with little to no defense. Too many shops are only concerned with numbers, such as their KPIs, gross profit, average touch time, cycle time, days to repair, efficiency percentage and a few other catchphrases. Conversely, research shows that the more a shop is concerned about those numbers, the more likely repairs are performed incorrectly. Excuses range from some of the idiotic answers from Willis to “I have a wife and kids to feed and I need to put money on the table,” “I will lose my DRP,” “They won’t pay for that” or “I will lose my customers if I charge them or make them sue.” The sad truth is that most consumers, insurance company personnel and even the collision repair facility employees have all been conditioned into thinking it is the shop’s fault, and the shop is the bad guy for everything in the industry.  I will leave you with this closing thought. For a moment, consider this scenario and think about it. If the answer comes to you, then you get it. If the answer is not crystal clear, then you do not get it and never will, so I recommend you hire a lawyer. A man, let’s call him John, was injured at work. He was hit in the head by a falling blunt object. He was not knocked unconscious, but did feel dizzy and lightheaded. A large bruise and lump were visible. John went to his doctor and had x-rays, an MRI and sonogram taken. John gave his insurance information, paid his co-pay and went home. About two months later, John received two letters in the mail. One was from his doctor and the other one from his insurance company. The insurance company letter stated that they will not be paying for the sonogram as it is not usual and customary for this procedure. The letter further explained that the insurance company got the doctor to lower the charges from $1,200 to the rate the insurance company pays for sonograms, which was $850. John opened the letter from the doctor and it stated that his insurance company deemed the sonogram unnecessary, and John owed the doctor $850 (which was discounted). He had 30 days to pay before it goes to a collection agency. Now a few questions for you to answer and think about. (Don’t worry, they are multiple choice.) 1. Who is John mad at? a. Himself c. The Doctor

b. His Boss d. The Insurance Company

2. Did the doctor offer any assistance (besides the discount) to John? a. Yes b. No 3. Will John go back to that doctor if he is ever in need again, even though he was charged personally for services rendered? a. Yes b. No 4. What would you do? a. Not pay c. Sue

b. Pay d. Protest

Read it again if necessary. Do you get it now? Do you see the error of your ways? As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. MASSACHUSETTS BUILDING THE SUCCESS OF THE AUTO REPAIR INDUSTRY

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE continued from page 16 determines when a violated regulation becomes a general business practice. They monitor the number of complaints that come in on a particular issue; once the complaints build up, they perform a Market Conduct Survey. If they deem it a general business practice, they will then issue a fine and advise the insurer that they should change how they handle the matter. However, the regulation is set up so there is no cause of action in a court of law. In other words, one can’t sue an insurer for a violation. It’s the equivalent of a police officer having to catch a person running a red light at least three times within a week before the officer could give the person a ticket. It’s ridiculous. The problem is that modern times have put the collision industry in a very difficult position. In the past, collision shops could manipulate the system and work around these obstacles. When I say “manipulate,” I am referring to adding hours to a job to compensate for unfair Labor Rates – plus unreasonable methods of compensation for paint and materials and for certain repair procedures that some insurers refuse to pay for. The problem is the gap is now simply too big to manipulate. Because the Labor Rate has been held down for so long, it needs to be almost doubled to be considered a fair and reasonable rate to repair the type of vehicles on the road today. The actual cost of paint and materials on certain vehicles is sometimes four or five times the amount that insurers want to pay based on a ridiculous formula of a dollar figure per paint hour that has no relevance to the color of the paint. The bigger problem here is the liability that collision shops are faced with when they fail to repair a damaged vehicle in compliance with OEM position statements. Many insurers are openly stating that they question some positions and refuse to pay for the repair as called for by these documents. A good example of this is the use of certain reconditioned wheels. Even with an OEM position statement that says the use of such a wheel could result in injury or death, certain insurers still say that is all they will pay for. If anyone in the collision industry thinks stating that the insurer refused to pay for anything but a reconditioned wheel will relieve the shop from liability should the wheel fail and

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cause an injury or death, think again! The bottom line is things must change. Labor Rates are going to have to be based on the actual cost of doing business. There are paint and material cost accounting programs available to calculate accurate costs. OEM repair procedures on modern vehicles must be researched and followed, or people’s lives could be in jeopardy. The time has come for the collision industry to take a stand and say we are no longer willing to play Let’s Make a Deal. However, the industry will need to take a stand together in a united effort to address these issues. As usual, I will conclude my article with a strong recommendation that anyone who owns a collision shop in New Jersey become a part of AASP/NJ. We are constantly attempting to strengthen the industry and address the issues in a united effort. If anyone would like to join the association or speak to me about anything mentioned in this article, I can be reached on the AASP/NJ Hot Line at (732) 922-8909. NJA

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3rd Vice President Rodney Krawczyk - Ace Auto Wreckers (732) 254-9816 Executive Director Brian Snyder - Auto Recyclers of NJ (609) 714-2339

ARANJ 2017 Board of Directors Mike Ronayne - Tilghmans Auto Parts
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Ed Silipena - American II Autos (609) 965-6700 Harry Shover - Porchtown Auto (856) 694-1555

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An insurance lawsuit can be a time-consuming and costly process that is often unnecessary and may not require any legal involvement. Implementing a few proactive strategies can help employers prevent an average claim from escalating into a major legal battle. One: You should contact the insurance carrier/agent as soon as an employee notifies you of an injury or accident. Once you report the claim, the insurance carrier will begin the investigation process. They will complete a thorough examination of the facts, determine compensability and hopefully resolve the claim. Two: Educate employees on your insurance coverage. Let them know your insurance carrier is focused on loss prevention. Maintain frequent contact with your employee to prevent adversity. Let them know you care and you’re looking forward to them coming back to work. Open communication creates an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.

Mario DeFilippis, AAI, Vice President Wharton Group 800-221-0003 (ext.1320) (908)-513-8588 (cell)

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OUT OF BODY (AND MECHANICAL) EXPERIENCES continued from page 11 August 21st. “Wow. You’re one hell of a company. This will make a great story in my next magazine. I don’t know if it’s you or your boss in that condo in Edgewater, but with customer service like this, I hope you have a short-term lease. Keep your worthless case. Complaints are on their way to PayPal, BBB and anywhere else I can find your product available.” Silence. I called PayPal and initiated an investigation. They assured me that the money would be frozen until the dispute is settled. I also posted on Facebook and other places how bad their customer service is. Will my complaints affect their business? Probably not. I blasted the pizza place I went to for over 50 years and had a falling out with over two years ago, and they are still making money hand over fist. (I can’t even get my immediate family OR employees to stop going there!) I was never one for forcing or expecting others to support MY boycotts anyway. Everyone should make up their own mind. Aw, screw it. Whatever you do, don’t buy from GOATcase! Go Yanks! NJA

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ADVERTISERS’ INDEX 1-800-NEW-PARTS..........................................14-15

Klean Frame ....................................................56

Accudraft ........................................................25

Lynnes Nissan East ..........................................24

Acme Nissan....................................................4

Maxon Hyundai ................................................43

Action Nissan of Flemington ............................61

Maxon Mazda ..................................................63

Amato Agency..................................................50

Mazda Group ..................................................30

American Honda Motor Company ....................53

Mike Kaufmann Dealer Group ..........................64

Audi Group ......................................................34-35

MINI Group ......................................................49

Axalta Coating Systems ....................................6

Mopar Group....................................................41

BMW Group ....................................................22-23

NORTHEAST 2018 ..........................................17

BMW of Springfield ..........................................31

NUCAR ............................................................26-27

Bridgewater Acura............................................54

Phillipsburg-Easton Honda................................IBC

Cadillac of Mahwah..........................................42

Polyvance ........................................................18

Carworx ..........................................................66

Porsche Group ................................................58

Classic Audi ....................................................21

PPG ................................................................3

Collision Equipment Company ..........................36

Princeton BMW................................................51

Clinton Acura ..................................................IBC

Princeton MINI ................................................64

Crestmont Family of Dealerships ......................48

Subaru Group ..................................................65

Empire Auto Parts ............................................56

Subaru of Morristown ......................................59

Estify Transfer ..................................................11

Town Motors ....................................................62

Fenix Parts ......................................................12

Toyota Group....................................................19

Flemington Audi ..............................................5

Toyota of Hackensack ......................................IFC

Flemington Group ............................................29

Toyota of Morristown ........................................59

Ford Group ......................................................24

Tri-State Luxury Collection ................................8-9

Future Cure......................................................33

Valtek ..............................................................57

Glen Toyota ......................................................OBC

VIP Honda........................................................54

Hyundai Group ................................................37

VW Group ........................................................60

Innovative Solutions & Technology / Pro Spot ....13

Westbury Jeep Chrysler Dodge Ram SRT..........55

J Sabino Consulting..........................................28

Wheel Collision Center......................................57

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New Jersey Automotive September 2017  
New Jersey Automotive September 2017  

Official Publication of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers/New Jersey (AASP/NJ)