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Acura MDX Sport Hybrid


OPA/NASCAR Schedule OPA NASCAR Schedule!

COLLISION NEWS The GCIA Kicked Off 2018 Document Everything, Share Best Practices

March 2018

The New Lotus Evora GT410 Sport

Consumer Watchdog Calls Out State Farm For Power Grab Legislation Mississippi Acts to Protect Buyers from Flood of Flooded Vehicles

DEALER NEWS Jim Ellis Automotive Awards the NSC $20K to Help end Distracted Driving Mazda, Toyota Select Alabama For New U.S. Auto Manufacturing Plant Infiniti to Go Electric from 2021

Relentless in its development of worldclass sports cars, Lotus has unveiled the new Evora GT410 Sport to complete the revised line-up of Hethel’s fastest model. Launched in Lotus’ 70th year and ahead of its anniversary celebrations, the new Evora GT410 Sport takes one of Lotus’ success stories, and refines it through the application of enlightened design. Available

in both 2 seat and 2+2 configurations, and in manual and automatic transmissions, the Evora GT410 Sport draws from the phenomenal Evora GT430 to provide advanced aerodynamics to an already celebrated sports car. Combining the latest design phiLotus Evora Please Turn to Page 4

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Lotus Evora From Front Cover losophy with a car acclaimed by both critics and customers, it packs raw performance with Lotus’ latest aerodynamic

some of the high downforce elements, the new Evora GT410 Sport enjoys a far subtler and sleeker silhouette. However, as with all Lotus sports cars, aerodynamic downforce is a requirement and this new GT-class coupe generates up to 96kg of downforce (50% more than the Evora Sport 410) making it the new benchmark when compared to similarly priced rivals. The Evora GT410 Sport is powered by a specially calibrated and tuned higher-output version of Lotus’ supercharged, 3.5-litre 6-cylinder engine with integrated water-to-air charge cooler, producing 410 hp at 7000

Launching the new Evora GT410 Sport, Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus plc said, “We are continually exploring new ideas, innovating and evolving our cars in pursuit of perfection. The new Evora GT410 Sport takes the lessons learnt from the development of the GT430 to deliver something outstanding and highly capable.” Lotus Evora GT410 Sport in more detail Lotus’ newly defined GT-class sports car captures the essence of the company’s headline model. The application of top-down evolution introduces the new front and rear aesthetic, first seen on the GT430. As a result, the car’s design combines considerable physical presence with natural aerodynamic abil-

“We are continually exploring new ideas, innovating and evolving our cars in pursuit of perfection."

developments, to provide a first-class replacement for the Evora Sport 410 model. Employing key elements of the GT430’s sculptured body style, including specifically designed new composite front and rear body panels, but without 4

Southern Automotive Journal

rpm and 420 Nm of torque from 3500 rpm. It powers the GT410 Sport from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds (automatic) and the manual version in 4.0 seconds. The development of the new Evora GT410 Sport afforded Lotus the opportunity to optimise mass, resulting in an unladen weight of 1,297 kg and a lightest possible dry weight of 1,256 kg (including all the optional titanium exhaust, saving 10 kg, and the Lotus-tuned Öhlins TTX aluminium twoway adjustable dampers, saving 13 kg) – a total saving of 98 kg when compared to the Evora 400 benchmark, and up to 28 kg less than the already featherweight Evora Sport 410. March 2018


The revised front panel features two enlarged carbon fibre ducts, with integrated air blades, to efficiently move air around the front wheels reducing turbulence and decreasing drag. Additional downforce is created by the combination of the deep front splitter and new motorsport-derived rear diffuser, mounted beneath the new style metal mesh grille which gives a cleaner finish. Sculptured carbon fibre ducts behind each rear wheel vent high pressure air as quickly as possible from the rear wheel arches, balancing downforce. Cumulatively this all works to boost downforce to 96 kg at 190 mph, a sizable jump of 50% over the outgoing Evora Sport 410, and a massive threetimes that of the Evora 400 with an improved drag coefficient. This elevates

the Evora GT410 Sport to GT430, or the lightweight forged wheel the top ranks of Lotus’ option from the Evora 400, which benmost aerodynamically efits from a 9.5J rear wheel size. An efficient road cars. integrated 7” touch- screen infotainment As with all highsystem with AppleCarPlay and Android performance Evoras, carAuto, Bluetooth® functionality, satellite bon fibre plays a considnavigation and reversing camera can erable role in the car’s also be specified. construction. Standard Jean-Marc Gales concluded, carbon composite com“Starting 2018 in style, the Evora GT410 ponents include the The Evora GT410 Sport is powered by 3.5-litre Sport is just the beginning of an incredfront access panel, roof 6-cylinder engine producing 410 hp at 7000 ibly strong year for Lotus. The core prinpanel and a one-piece rpm. louvered tailgate with brake discs (front integrated spoiler, as well 370mm x 32mm, as the elements within the front air blade rear 350mm x system and rear wheel exit ports. 32mm). This focus on the car’s critical mass In addidelivers its headline power-to-weight tion to Lotus’ ratio of 326 hp / tonne and the top speed slick, six-speed to 190 mph (305 km/h). manual gearbox Despite the car’s low mass, a range with a Torsen of lightweight options can be specified type limited slip for the Evora GT410 Sport. This includes differential (LSD), a titanium exhaust, cutting 10 kg from the Evora GT410 Lotus Evora GT410 Sport combines traditional British beyond the car’s rear axle. Sport is also craftsmanship with the best of modern design. Making the most of the traction on available with an tap, the Evora GT410 Sport uses Michelin automatic transPilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (235/35 R19 at mission option. Slightly quicker through the front and 285/30 R20 at the rear) the gears, with a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 with a sports suspension package of seconds, the six-speed automatic transEibach ultra-light, low-sideload springs mission utilises an optimised gearbox and Bilstein sports dampers – all fitted ECU for ultra-fast changes. Gear selecas standard. tion is made via lightweight aluminium A touring suspension package is paddles mounted to the steering wheel. available as a no cost option, featuring The new Evora GT410 Sport feaBilstein® non-adjustable dampers, with tures four driver selectable ESP modes – touring specification, and Michelin Pilot selected via a dashboard switch. ‘Drive’, Sport 4S tyres. ciples of Lotus and our founder Colin ‘Sport’, ‘Race’ and ‘Off’. Sport and Race For full damper adjustability, a race Chapman remain paramount as we work settings increase throttle response, suspension package using Lotus-tuned on the next generation of vehicles whilst respectively increasing traction slip lightweight Öhlins TTX aluminium twobuilding our best sports cars yet.” allowing the driver a finer degree of way adjustable dampers (twenty click Every new Lotus Evora GT410 control before intervention. adjustment compression and rebound) Sport can be personalised through the As with its Evora stablemates the which save 13 kg, can be specified to increasingly popular Lotus Exclusive proEvora GT410 Sport cabin includes Lotus’ tune the Evora GT410 Sport to precisely gramme. Developed by the Lotus Design beautifully detailed carbon race seats suit particular road or track conditions. team to inspire customers, it combines (2+0 configuration only) and carbon Reducing un-sprung mass, ultratraditional British craftsmanship with the door sill inserts. The steering wheel, lightweight, fully machined, forged alubest of modern design, and allows owndashboard, door panels, transmisminium wheels (19" 8J front and 20" 9.5J ers to tailor vehicles to their personal sion tunnel, centre console and instrurear 10 spoke alloy wheels) are availtaste. Since its introduction last year, ment binnacle are all trimmed in black able in either silver or matt black. The roughly a third of all new Lotus cars now Alcantara®, complemented by contrast option of upgrading to one inch wider undergo some form of customisation. twin colour stitching. Optional Sparco (10.5J) rear wheels as used on the Evora The new, fully homologated Lotus race seats are available in both 2+0 and GT430, is available and stopping power Evora GT410 Sport range can be ordered 2+2 configurations with the latter requircomes courtesy of AP Racing four-piston now in European and Asia Pacific maring either the optional wider 10.5J rear calipers front and rear with lightweight kets, following in summer 2018 for the wheel option, as featured on the Evora 2- piece cross-drilled and ventilated USA and China.n

March 2018

Southern Automotive Journal


Jim Ellis Automotive Awards the NSC $20K to Help end Distracted Driving The Jim Ellis Automotive Group along with the National Safety Council (NSC) wrapped up the kickoff month of their initiative to wipe out distracted driving in December. As the start of an ongoing awareness campaign launched by Jim Ellis Automotive Group in December, people were asked to sign the Jim Ellis Pledge to Drive Safe. With the kickoff of the initiative, the automotive group decided to make a donation to the National Safety Council for each person that signed the pledge during the month of December. More than 400 people signed the pledge during the launch phase of the campaign in December. A donation of $50 per pledge signed was presented to the NSC at a check presentation on January 23. The total amount of the donation comes to just over $20K. “I am thrilled to know that hundreds of people took the Jim Ellis Pledge to Drive Safe in the month of December,” said Jim Ellis Automotive Group President and CEO Jimmy Ellis. “This is just the

Jim Ellis Automotive Group donates $50 per pledge totalling over $20,000 to the National Safety Council. More than 400 people signed the Pledge to Drive Safe.

beginning of an ongoing effort to encourage drivers to be safe behind the wheel and I hope to see many more take the pledge in the coming year. In addition, I am pleased that our company will make a sizable donation to the National Safety Council to assist them in the good work they do educating and equipping people to be safe drivers.”

The campaign to end distracted driving will continue for the Jim Ellis Automotive Group and support pieces for the initiative will be present throughout the coming year at all 16 of the Jim Ellis family-owned and operated dealerships. Drivers will have the opportunity Jim Ellis Please Turn to Page 22

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New Acura MDX Sport Hybrid - Refreshed and Bodly Restyled

Building on the refreshed and boldly restyled 2017 Acura MDX and employing the innovative three-motor Sport Hybrid Super Handling-All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD™) powertrain technology that was introduced in the RLX sedan and advanced in the 2017 NSX supercar, the new MDX Sport Hybrid is Acura's first-ever hybrid SUV and the technological flagship of the Acura SUV lineup. The MDX Sport Hybrid is engineered for customers who desire the ultimate in driving refinement, technological sophistication and prestige in a three-row Acura SUV. The MDX Sport Hybrid takes full advantage of the immediate, high-torque performance of its three powerful electric motors, along with the always-on capabilities of electric torque vectoring, to substantially improve fuel efficiency and expand dynamic performance for the luxury SUV customers' everyday driving needs – all without sacrifice to interior space or cargo volume. Unique elements of the MDX Sport Hybrid's design and engineering versus its non-hybrid counterpart include the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD powertrain with three electric motors and 7-speed dual clutch transmission (7DCT), and advanced Electro Servo braking system, new and model-exclusive Active Damper technology, and an expandedrange Integrated Dynamics System with new SPORT+ mode. Moreover, the Integrated Dynamics System engages with numerous different dynamic systems within the vehicle, 8

Southern Automotive Journal

including its electric motors, throttle, steering, transmission and Active Dampers, to provide the driver with an expanded range of selectable performance characteristics to suit their varied driving needs and desires. (See Chassis section for more detail on the Integrated Dynamics System) The MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is offered in two grades: the MDX with Technology Package and the MDX with Advance Package. Both grades have exclusive interior trim and the Advance package features wood interior accents. The MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD with the Technology Package includes versatile seating for seven passengers, while the Advance Package features a 6-passenger interior with second-row captain's chairs and large second-row center console in place of a three-person bench seat.

Sport Hybrid Super Handling AllWheel Drive (SH-AWD)

Acura's SH-AWD system distributes power side-to-side between the left and right rear wheels, using "torque vectoring" to create a yaw moment to March 2018

help the vehicle turn by sending more power to the outside rear wheel during cornering, providing for crisper turn-in, more responsive steering and improved line traceability. Unlike the mechanical Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) available in the non-Hybrid MDX, the MDX Sport Hybrid's electric SH-AWD operates independent of the gasoline engine; as the two rear-mounted electric motors dynamically apportion both positive and negative torque directly to the rear wheels. This system provides for dynamic, immediate and always-on torque vectoring capabilities while eliminating the weight and energy losses associated with a conventional driveshaft and differential mechanism. When cornering, the MDX Sport Hybrid delivers positive torque to the outside rear wheel, much like mechanical SH-AWD, to create a yaw moment. Unlike conventional SH-AWD though, Sport Hybrid SH-AWD can also simultaneously apply regenerative brake torque to the inside rear wheel during MDX Please Turn to Page 34

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I-CAR®’S 2017 Results Show Continued Growth and Effort to Align the Industry 2017 proved to be another strong year for I-CAR®, continuing to build on the progress made since 2010 when the current Professional Development Program™ was announced. Over the past seven years the organization has achieved significant growth as result of it's greatly expanded product and services portfolio, plus increasing industry responsiveness to pur-

sue required knowledge and skills levels in the face of the Technical Tsunami™. 2017 results confirm significant growth in technician and shop training engagement versus prior year: I-CAR reports an increase of 2,000 shops engaged in I-CAR training, meaning approximately one-third of total shops are now training with I-CAR, up from about

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25 percent prior. Additionally, a 27 percent increase in the total number of Gold Class® shops was achieved. I-CAR’s Gold Class count now stands at 5,570 shops across the United States, plus 1,300 shops now on the Road to Gold®. Gold Class shops in Canada, Australia and New Zealand would increase these numbers. From a student perspective in 2017, I-CAR training was completed by 83,693 students. In total, these students completed 178,955 unique courses. Welding Training & Certification™ also set new records, with 17,639 students who attended 9,758 events, up dramatically versus prior years. I-CAR’s annual welding program student participation level is now up 700 percent since 2010, with the number of welding training and certification events up 1,300 percent, respectively. OEMs and insurers who specify I-CAR training as a repair network qualifier saw increases as well. As of January 2018, 25 organizations acknowledge Gold Class for their networks, including 11 OEMs and 11 insurers. Additionally, 22 organizations now require I-CAR Welding Training & Certification, including 17 OEMs and 5 insurers. Additions to this roster in 2017 include Volvo, Audi, Hyundai, Maserati (welding), State Farm (welding), and one additional OEM we are unable to disclose also now requires I-CAR aluminum welding. Last year, I-CAR worked closely with partners in the technical school and supplier segments to identify qualified neutral fixed-site locations for training, called I-CAR Official Training Sites. Official training sites were formed as a means to ensure consistent and effective live course delivery, providing a better learning environment and training regimen for students. I-CAR reports more than 260 training sites have been established as of January 2018. Currently, 62 percent of secondary and post-secondary schools now utilize I-CAR’s Professional Development Program – Education Edition, all achieved since the program was first introduced to schools in 2012. Additionally, with the launch of In-Shop Knowledge Assessment™ in 2017, I-CAR’s education, information and services I-CAR Results Please Turn to Page 18

March 2018

Southern Automotive Journal


New Toyota 86 is the Affordable, Fun-damental Sports Car It was hailed as nothing less than the return of the fundamental, affordable reardrive sports car when it arrived a few years back, and for 2017 it got a new name, a new look and higher performance: the Scion FR-S adopts the Toyota 86 identity used in other global markets, as Scion and its models transition back to the Toyota brand. It is a happy coincidence that the 86’s 2.0-liter boxer-type four-cylinder engine has 86mm bore and stroke dimensions. For ardent Toyota fans, ‘86’ is a revered badge, indeed. They know ‘AE86’ as the global name for the Toyota Corolla GT-S that sold here in the mid-1980s. It was an affordable, tossable, rear-drive sports coupe with a high-revving 1.6-liter engine and was simply a blast to drive. (And it looked so ’80s with those big ‘Twin Cam 16’ decals on its doors.) In Japan, it was known as “hachi-roku,” meaning 8-6. Unchanged for the Toyota 86 is a combination of style, performance, handling and affordability that have made this 2+2 sports car a hit with enthusiasts of all ages.


Toyota 86's 2.0-liter aluminum boxer engine delivers 205 hp at 7,000 rpm and 156 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 6,400 rpm.

Southern Automotive Journal

March 2018

More Than Just a Pretty (Aggressive) Face For its move to Toyota, the 86 sports car adopts more aggressive styling with a larger center intake emphasizing the low, wide stance of the car. The front of the car has a new high-tech design with standard LED front headlamps, daylight running lights, and turn signals, a new fog lamp bezel and revised bumper. The rear sports LED tail lamps and more sculpted bumper design with integrated aerodynamic diffuser. The alloy wheels feature a new twisted spoke design and 86 logos have been incorporated into a badge on the front fender, as well as inside the front headlamps. The interior also features the 86 logo on the new “Granlux” material used on the instrument panel surround. The same material adds a new, soft feel to the door trim. Drivers also will enjoy new seating material with silver stitching and a revised steering wheel with integrated audio controls and an 86 logo on the Toyota 86 Turn to Page 26

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Mississippi Acts to Protect Buyers from Flood of Flooded Vehicles Free Inspections Offered to Spot Potential Problems

The Mississippi Insurance Department and the Mississippi Collision Repair Association have teamed up to protect residents from buying cars damaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Following the two storms, officials say thousands of flood-damaged vehicles have made their way from Texas, Louisiana and Florida into Mississippi to be eventually sold to unsuspecting buyers. Many of the cars have been sold to unscrupulous dealers or dismantlers who will clean them up, retitle them and sell them for a quick profit. According to the Mississippi Insurance Commissioner, Mike Chaney, the biggest threat is from cars that were not insured for flood damage.

"While those insured cars may show up in NICB's VINCheck® database, the ones that didn't have insurance are likely to be sold by the original owner for a few hundred dollars and then cleaned up and retitled by an unscrupulous dealer who will resell it for a few thousand dollars with no indication that the vehicle suffered any flood damage," said Chaney. "It's truly a buyer beware situation." In an effort to stop these kinds of sales, the Insurance Department and repair shops that are members of the state's Collision Repair Association are working together to offer free inspections for potential buyers. "If you're thinking about buying a

used car, let one of our members check the car to verify that it has not been in a flood," said John Mosely of Clinton Body Shop and the Mississippi Collision Repair Association. "In addition to checking the hidden areas of the car for signs of damage, we can also run a scan of the car's computer system to look for any codes that might indicate it had been exposed to water." "We applaud this cooperative effort to keep consumers from being scammed," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "Far too many vehicles that were flooded were not insured and if they go undetected, they can end up being a financial disaster for the buyer as well as a potential safety hazard."n

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The GCIA Kicked Off 2018 Document Everything, Share Best Practices By Brian Medford The Georgia Collision Industr y Association (GCIA) kicked off 2018 with a highly informative presentation from attorney Erica Eversman, Chief Counsel at Vehicle Information Services, Inc. and founder of the Automotive Education & Policy Institute. Her focus for the evening was documentation and best practices. This may sound boring, but here’s some food for thought from Erica: ”Sharing information is the key to minimizing liability and maximizing pay for collision repairers. The lack of informa-

The difference between a cost estimate versus a damage analysis is more important than ever. While the insurance companies focus on cost estimates, it is the repair shops who write the damage analysis that will bring the vehicle back to safe operating condition. Erica Eversman,

tion within collision repair is the biggest problem in this industry. The insurers have done a fantastic job intimidating the collision repairers to not collect information, to not get together, to not discuss issues about their businesses.” The back-and-forth battle between collision repair shops and the insurance industry has been going on for decades. In Erica’s opinion the insurance companies have lost grip on what they can and cannot actually do. In the end the liability for a safe GCIA Meeting Please Turn to Page 33

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March 2018

Infiniti to Go Electric from 2021 INFINITI Motor Company will introduce new vehicles with electrified powertrains from 2021, said Nissan Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa at the Automotive News World Congress. Customers can expect beautifully designed vehicles like the Q Inspiration concept, with a whole new level of electrified driving performance as an evolution of INFINITI’s current powertrains. INFINITI Motor Company will introduce new vehicles with electrified powertrains from 2021, said Nissan Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa at the Automotive News World Congress recenlty. Customers can expect beautifully designed vehicles like the Q Inspiration concept shown in Detroit, with a whole new level of electrified driving perfor-

mance as an evolution of INFINITI's current powertrains. INFINITI will offer a mix of pure electric vehicles (EV) and e-POWER vehicles – demonstrating the full range of low-emission vehicle technology available to INFINITI as the premium brand of Nissan Motor Company. INFINITI's proprietary e-POWER technology features a small gasoline

engine that charges a high-output battery, eliminating the need for an external charging source and providing the convenience of refueling with gasoline while offering the same driving experience as a pure EV. As a result of this emphasis on lowemission technology, INFINITI expects more than half its global sales to be comprised of electric vehicles by 2025.n


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I-CAR Results From Page 11 portfolio now includes 14 distinct product and service offerings, up from four in 2010. “2017 showed considerable increases in the collision repair industry’s commitment to training,” said I-CAR CEO & President John Van Alstyne. “From OEMs and Insurers acknowledging I-CAR programs, to technical schools and suppliers working in concert to help secure sites for better learning environments, to more and more shops now understanding the critical need to train and the value it creates for them, I commend the progress our industry is making towards performing complete, safe and quality repairs.” The growth statistics quoted demonstrate the gains we have made as an industry. As further evidence of this progress, over the past five years, I-CAR’s Welding Training & Certification participation has increased, and thus those “not I-CAR

trained” (a reasonable statistic, as I-CAR is the principal industry provider of welding training and certification) has improved as follows: Steel: 69 percent (2013); now 53 percent (2017) Steel Sectioning: 98 percent (2013); now 81 percent (2017) Aluminum: 94 percent (2013); now 84 percent (2017) “So we are far from done,” continued Van Alstyne. “It is our obligation as a neutral, not-for-profit organization to ensure every technician is provided with the knowledge and skills required to perform proper repairs. While we have accomplished a lot as an industry, especially in 2017, we still estimate that 58 percent of technicians are likely not training, and not to the level required. We need to do better, and we will do better.” Responsive to this growth, and to position for 2018 and beyond, the edu-

cation, knowledge and solutions organization made the following organization enhancements to its leadership team in late 2017, which included: Nick Notte to senior vice president – sales & marketing; Ann Gonzalez to vice president – strategy; Elise Quadrozzi to vice president – education & technical services; and the addition of Andy Johnson as vice president – IT & digital innovation. Prior to joining I-CAR, Johnson spent 27 years with Tower International, a top 100 global Tier 1 automotive chassis systems supplier, where he was most recently Vice President, IT Americas. Additional management team enhancements include Stacey Wesselink to director, marketing; Lori Barrington to an expanded role as director, business enablement & optimization; Bill Stage to director, delivery; Terry Ticel to manager, national business development; and Armin Price to manager business development, supplier segment.n

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Mazda, Toyota Select Alabama For New U.S. Auto Manufacturing Plant motive manufacturing in Alabama," Governor Ivey said. "Their decision to locate this new facilAlabama Governor Kay ity in Huntsville is Ivey and Huntsville Mayor a testament to the Tommy Battle joined Mazda talented workforce (TYO: MZDAF) and Toyota in our state. We (NYSE: TM) leaders recently are proud that this to announce the automakpartnership puts ers have selected Huntsville, Alabama on the foreAlabama as the site of their front of technology new joint-venture manufacin this dynamic globturing plant. al industry." The new plant will "With this have the capacity to build announcement, our 300,000 vehicles annually, world changes overwith production split evennight," said Tommy ly between two lines for Battle, mayor of each company to produce "Mazda Mazda's crossover model that Following the press conference, the speakers joined Huntsville. will be newly introduced to the together to celebrate the announcement (left to right): and Toyota, two of the North American market and Secretary Greg Canfield, Mazda Motor Corporation world's most innovathe Toyota Corolla. President and Chief Executive Officer Masamichi Kogai, tive automakers, have The joint venture repreAlabama Govornor Kay Ivey, Toyota Motor Corporation created a legacy project that will provide sents a $1.6 billion investment that Mazda and Toyota plan to President Akio Toyoda, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, jobs for decades to come for Huntsville make with equal funding con- Commission Chairman Mark Yarbrough. and Alabama. It vaults tributions. The site for the new Alabama to the top as an industry leader plant is in Huntsville, located approxito create up to 4,000 jobs. Production is in producing the next generation of cars mately 14 miles from Toyota's Alabama expected to begin by 2021. plant (Toyota Motor Manufacturing, "The partnership between Mazda Mazda/Toypta Please Turn to Page 25 Alabama, Inc.). The facility is expected and Toyota will expand innovative autoInvestment to reach $1.6 billion for facility that will employ up to 4,000, open in 2021



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Jim Ellis From Page 6 to take the pledge in stores or online and commit to keeping their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind on the drive ahead. "Georgia received a grade of a ‘B’ on the National Safety Council State of Safety Report, which was based on local initiatives and legislation to help keep each other safe on the roads," said Jennifer Steffus, Chief Development Officer for the National Safety Council. "The safe driver pledge created by the Jim Ellis team is a testament to local community leaders rising up to help get Georgia's roadway safety grade to an ‘A.’ We commend the Jim Ellis team for taking on this effort and we appreciate being the beneficiaries as we continue to eliminate preventable deaths." Jim Ellis Automotive Group will continue to create awareness of distracted driving problem, provide helpful resources to drivers, and challenge people to drive safe. Distracted driving is an ongoing problem that will involve all drivers doing their part. People taking the pledge to do their part and in being one of the safe drivers on the road is a great step towards eliminating the problem of distracted driving.n

Jimmy Ellis presented a check just over $20K to the NSC to help wipe out distracted driving

Left: Nicholas Smith, National Safety Council Chief Operating Officer Right: Jimmy Ellis, Jim Ellis Automotive Group President & CEO

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Mazda/Toyota From Page 21 that will power our nation." Mazda Motor Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Masamichi Kogai and Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda joined Gov. Ivey and Mayor Battle for the announcement. For Mazda, the plant comes on line in a significant year that will mark the start of the company's second century of operation and second half-century of sales in the U.S. The automaker is enhancing its commitment to the U.S. market and will focus efforts on manufacturing and increasing sales in the country. "Mazda makes cars with a clear vision of how we want to inspire people, contribute to society and help preserve the beauty of the earth. By making such

cars here in Alabama, we hope that over time our plant will come to occupy a special place in the hearts of our employees and the local community. By making this plant a vibrant part of that community, we hope to work, learn and grow together with the people of Alabama and Huntsville," Kogai said. For Toyota, this joint-venture plant will be its 11th U.S. manufacturing facility and represents its continued commitment in the U.S., in addition to the $10 billion dollar investment over the next 5 years that was announced in January 2017. "Our investment to establish a new vehicle assembly plant with Mazda builds on the strong success we have enjoyed in Alabama where we produce engines for the North American market," Toyoda said. "Starting from 2021, I'm confident that we will run a highly competitive plant, by bringing together the

expertise of Toyota and Mazda as well as the excellent Alabama workforce. We are committed to being another 'best-in town' company in the city of Huntsville and the state of Alabama, a new hometown for Toyota and Mazda." The State of Alabama is the fifth largest producer of cars and light trucks nationally with a strong automotive manufacturing presence including Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville, where Toyota employs 1,400 team members. With more than 150 Tier 1 and 2 automotive suppliers in the state as well as automakers, there are approximately 57,000 automotive manufacturing jobs in Alabama. In the coming months, after obtaining approvals and authorization by antitrust agencies, the new joint venture will be established, and site preparations will begin with the start of production in 2021.n

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March 2018

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Toyota 86 From Page 12 center hub. Enhanced control and agile performance are achieved through revised shock tuning and a spring rate change. On the manual version of the car, additional performance comes from a differential gear ratio change and revised engine tuning that increases the torque to 156 lb.-ft, as well as a five-horsepower increase to 205 hp. On both manual and automatic 86 models, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) helps prevent the car from rolling back on steep hills from a stop. The Whole Performance Package At a svelte 2,758 lbs. (with six-speed manual transmission), the Toyota 86 is among the lightest sports cars on the market. The 86 also sports an ultra-low center of gravity, and its sleek body meets the wind with a low 0.29 coefficient of drag (Cd). The 2.0-liter aluminum boxer engine delivers 205 hp at 7,000 rpm and 156 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 6,400 rpm. (Automatic version: 200 hp at 7,000 rpm and 151 lb.-ft. at 6,400 rpm.) Its 86mm x 86mm bore and stroke dimensions make the engine eager to rev, while dual variable valve timing helps give it a broad torque curve. So, the 86 feels responsive whether running errands or an autocross course. Among the engine’s high - p er formance features used to extract 100 hp per liter of displacement is the Toyota-innovated D4-S fuel injection system that combines direct injection and port injection technologies. The direct system provides a cooling effect in the cylinders, which allows the engine to use a high 12.5:1 compression ratio. The port fuel injectors come into play during light- and medium-load conditions to maximize combustion efficiency. 26

Southern Automotive Journal

All of those facts and figures add up to speedy performance, yet the Toyota 86 also delivers outstanding fuel economy for a sports car: EPA-estimated 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with the six-speed automatic transmission and 21 city/28 highway with the sixspeed manual. Six Speeds, Two Ways Sports car purists love the 86’s standard six-speed manual transmission. It’s got a short-throw shifter and easy-effort clutch, making it a joy to flick through the gears. The automatic is a joy to work, too, with its steeringwheel-mounted paddle shifters, Sport mode, and Dynamic Rev Management® technology, which “blips” the throttle on downshifts. With its super-fast shifts, it’s an automatic to please those purists who

sion (including a strut brace) and double-wishbone rear suspension. Electric power-assist steering is tuned to provide excellent feedback through the smalldiameter, leather-wrapped wheel. The steering is quick, with just 2.48 turns lock to lock, and with a tight 36.1-ft. turning circle. In the driver’s hands, the thickrimmed wheel feels like a surgical tool for operating on the road. The 17 x 7-inch alloy wheels wear 215/45R17 summer performance or all-

season tires. For track driving and autocross competition, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) can be put in Track mode or shut off completely. Pure Sports Car Cabin The Toyota 86’s honest sports car approach carries into the cabin, where intuitive controls help the driver keep the focus on driving. A large center-mounted tachometer, the focal point of the easy-

The Toyota 86’s honest sports car approach carries into the cabin, where intuitive controls help the driver keep the focus on driving.

prefer the choice to shift manually or automatically. The high-performance drivetrain is completed by a standard Torsen® limited-slip differential that helps maximize traction between the rear wheels while cornering. Pure Sports Car Platform The Toyota 86 chassis is a specially developed rear-drive sports car platform using a MacPherson strut front suspenMarch 2018

to-read gauge panel, integrates a digital speedometer and features a programmable rev indicator. It’s flanked on the left by an analog speedometer, while fuel level and temperature gauges are positioned to the right of the tachometer. Classic sports car touches include simulated carbon-fiber dash and door trim and aluminum sport pedals and scuff plates. The Toyota 86 shows its practical side with a rear seatback that lowers to expand trunk space.n


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I-CAR® Unveils Sustaining Partner Program to Help Support Greater Good of Collision Repair Industry

I-CAR® announced recently the formal launch of the organization’s new Sustaining Partner program. The program is designed to more fully engage Insurers, OEMs, Service Providers and Suppliers in support of I-CAR’s vision and mission in recognition of the value I-CAR creates for the industry and their respective organizations, and in return offer Sustaining Partners a portfolio of products, services and benefits relevant to their businesses. As a Sustaining Partner, participating organizations are able to access the robust portfolio of I-CAR standard products and services that are relevant to their organizations including: The full spectrum of I-CAR’s educational course offerings All Repairability Technical Support (RTS) information and related services, such as access to I-CAR and OEM technical bulletins and “ASK I-CAR” real-time technical support Collaborative co-marketing opportunities, including event sponsorship, website promotion and inclusion in marketing materials Inclusion in the consumer-focused I-CAR Shop Locator for Sustaining Partners who manage certified or otherwise industry credentialed repair networks, subject to related I-CAR policies; the Locator delivers consumer education and awareness, and offers related network visibility to consumers Special discounted partner pric-

ing on customer-unique offerings such as custom course development and/or delivery programs, licensing of I-CAR intellectual property, and other customer-unique services Recurring annual “membershiptype” model which streamlines the business relationship between I-CAR and partner organizations, making it easier to do business. The Sustaining Partner program is expected to provide meaningful new levels of funding to support the important work of I-CAR. Over time, as more industry participants become active in the program, it is expected that Sustaining Partner funding will help I-CAR reduce the increasing education cost demands on the collision repair and education segments. Additionally, Training Alliance class credit fees will be eliminated for courses from Alliance members who become Sustaining Partners, an immediate benefit to shops. The time is right for this program. As an industry, we are experiencing a “Technical Tsunami TM". Vehicle technology is changing rapidly. Repair complexity is increasing, cost to repair is increasing, liability is a real business risk, access to properly trained talent is an increasing issue, and brand loyalty is a concern especially to MSOs, Insurers and OEMs. Now more than ever, proper education and use of technical information is required. I-CAR is delivering measurable impact in these areas, helping all segments of the industry manage through these challeng-

es and contributing better, more reliable performance and results. “As one industry, we must all adopt new approaches to closing the knowledge and skills gap,” said I-CAR CEO & President John Van Alstyne. “It falls on us right now to do the right thing for all involved in the collision repair industry: to ensure every person has the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer. The Sustaining Partner program is a new approach that will yield benefits for each participating organization and for our industry.” I-CAR began piloting the new program in the second half of 2017. Companies that have already joined the I-CAR Sustaining Partner Program include Chief Automotive Technologies and Car-O-Liner, with others in the wings. “Training in the collision repair industry has taken off in the last few years with the need to understand new vehicle designs. Chief sees the importance of that training and wanted to continue to invest in working with I-CAR, but now at a higher level,” said Richard Perry, OEM and strategic sales manager at Chief Automotive Technologies. “Chief’s longtime participation in I-CAR’s Training Alliance program made the Sustaining Partner opportunity more appealing by the additional benefit of reducing the cost of training to shops and companies already aligned with I-CAR that take Chief University training classes.”n

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Deloitte Study: Consumer Trust in Autonomous Vehicles on the Rise Consumers are warming up to the concept of fully self-driving vehicles, but some roadblocks may lay ahead for automakers, according to the "2018 Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study." Safety first Consumers have a brighter outlook on the safety of autonomous vehicles, though concerns remain. Significantly fewer people in the 2018 study feel that autonomous cars will not be safe, with less than half (47 percent) of U.S. consumers holding this view — a dramatic decrease from 2017, when 74 percent felt autonomous vehicles would not be safe. This view is consistent with other countries covered in the study, including: South Korea (54 percent this year vs. 81 percent last year), Germany (45 percent vs. 72 percent), and France (37 percent vs. 65 percent) who feel driverless cars may not be safe. The most notable change comes from China, where the percentage of people who think autonomous cars will not be safe dropped from 62 percent in 2017 to only 26 percent in this year's study. "Overall acceptance of autonomous technology has grown rapidly in just a short time," said Craig Giffi, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and U.S automotive leader. "However, driverless cars are still in an experimental stage, and the industry is at the front-end of a long capital investment cycle required to bring autonomous vehicle technology to the mainstream

market. To complicate that cycle, automakers recognize an immediate need to invest in areas including electrified powertrains, advanced light-weight materials, connectivity and mobility services. While the returns will be farther out, it's important that automakers continue allocating resources to autonomous driving technology. Those who settle for a reactive mindset rather than preparing for the long term will be at greater risk as consumer acceptance for autonomous technology further accelerates." Building trust Many people agree they would trust autonomous vehicles with a proven track record for safety. Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of U.S. respondents said they would be more likely to ride in an autonomous vehicle if they had an established safety record, up just slightly from 68 percent in the 2017 study. Other markets appear to be accelerating, however, with 83 percent of South Korean consumers (up from 70 percent in 2017), and 63 percent of German consumers (up from 47 percent in 2017) holding the same view. Taking that a step farther, more consumers are turning to trusted brands for reassurance around the safety of autonomous technologies. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers (63 percent) report they would be more likely to ride in an autonomous vehicle if it was from a brand they trust, compared to 54 percent in

2017. Consumers' faith in brands appears to strengthen with younger consumers, as 70 percent of the Gen Y/Z population reported they would be more likely to accept a self-driving vehicle from a trusted brand, compared to 62 percent of Gen X and 56 percent of Boomer/PreBoomer consumers. "The auto industry battle between brands for consumers' trust is on in a new and heightened way," said Giffi. In most regions, consumers favor traditional car manufacturers to bring fully autonomous vehicles to market. In the U.S., nearly half of consumers (47 percent) would put their trust in a traditional car manufacturer, compared to roughly one-quarter each that would trust a technology company (25 percent) or a newto-market autonomous vehicle maker (28 percent). Consumers across Asia hold widely different views: In Japan, 76 percent trust a traditional car manufacturer to bring the technology to market, compared with 28 percent in China and 13 percent of consumers in Southeast Asia. Not completely trusting the industry, many consumers would put their trust in federal regulation. More than half of U.S. consumers (54 percent) reported they would feel better about riding in selfdriving cars if governments would implement standards and regulations. Deloitte Please Turn to Page 32

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Consumer Watchdog Calls Out State Farm For Power Grab Legislation That Undermines Consumers Seeking Auto Crash Repairs and Threatens Their Safety Consumer Watchdog urged Assembly member Autumn Burke (D-Los Angeles) to withdraw legislation backed by State Farm Insurance because it "will irreparably harm policyholders who seek to repair their vehicles financially and, potentially, cost many consumers their safety, and even their lives." The legislation undermines state regulations that protect consumers from State Farm steering drivers in crashes to its captive repair shops and cutting corners on the repairs. In other states State Farm's corner cutting on repairs has threatened the lives of drivers and cost consumers more money out of pocket. Closed-door negotiations over the State Farm legislation between insurance companies and manufacturers have locked consumer groups, who are opposed, out of the room. In a letter to Burke, Michael Mattoch, Consumer Watchdog Counsel and Advocate, warned that the bill AB 1679, which is before the Assembly Appropriations Committee Thursday, is being pushed by State Farm under false pretenses. "Its true intent, which is, more than likely, not how it has been represented to you, is to allow State Farm to deny victims of crashes adequate repairs for their vehicles as required per manufacturer specifications," Mattoch wrote. "This will imperil policyholders who receive sub-standard repairs on their vehicles and transfer the additional costs of those shoddy repairs to their insureds, who must then pay those substantial, un-anticipated, out-of-pocket

costs for their repairs in violation of their insurance agreement." AB 1679 repeals recently enacted Department of Insurance (CDI) voluntary labor rate survey guidelines; and eliminates a consumer's right to select an auto body shop of their choice to repair their vehicle. The bill would enshrine insurance companies' ability to engage in unfair business practices, conduct their business in bad faith, and monetize the collision repair process, all while knowingly placing their insureds in harms' way, Consumer Watchdog said. Current law gives consumers the right to select a repair facility to have their vehicle repaired. Although insurers may advertise and promote their own repair shops, State Farm makes untruthful, deceptive and misleading statements to consumers to unduly influence the consumer's choice; and engage in unfair, deceptive and unlawful business practices to steer consumers into their insurer-contracted, or owned repair shops, Consumer Watchdog charged. CDI issued regulations to clarify and complement existing law to prevent such steering and ensure unfettered consumer choice of repair shops and more timely damage inspections. The CDI regulations provide guidelines and reasonable timeframes for insurers to inspect damaged vehicles and identify what constitutes unreasonable distances in cases where an insurer requires the consumer to travel to obtain a repair estimate or have a vehicle repaired. Consumer Watchdog said State

Farm's unscrupulous conduct is a major argument for why up-front consumer protection regulations are so vital. There is a far better chance of preventing such conduct from happening in the first place, than trying to catch wrongdoers after-the-fact. In addition, the CDI regulations clearly define the code of conduct that State Farm must follow in order to do business in California; and sets forth the laws State Farm can be held accountable for if they violated them. "AB 1679 even takes away the state regulatory authority's ability to try and prevent such harm to consumers," wrote Mattoch. "That is the very reason why State Farm wants these consumer protection regulations eliminated by your bill. State Farm has institutionally incentivized probable financial and physical harm to their insureds." The letter asking Burke to withdraw the bill concluded: "If enacted, AB 1679 (Burke) would allow State Farm - and all other insurers - to provide consumers with only one choice: 'You may go to one of 'our' shops, or your claim will receive 'heightened scrutiny', it will take more time to fix, you will pay more, and it will be far less convenient. In essence, do what we tell you or else … no matter how much it may cost or harm you. "Unfortunately, there are serious adverse consequences arising from this bill. Accordingly, we ask all members to OPPOSE this bill; and ask you to withdraw it from any further consideration."n

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March 2018

ASA Announces Dates, Locations for 2018 Annual Business Meeting & Conference The Automotive Service Association (ASA) will hold its next Annual Meeting & Conference May 2-6 at the Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Hotel in Orlando, Fla. The event promises to be a four-day immersion in everything ASA, mixing special automotive repair industry training, leadership and social activities with a full tank of Disney magic. The event will feature the 2018 Celebration of Excellence and AMi Graduation Ceremony on Friday, May 4, and attendees can expect a full slate of seminars covering current and future

trends in the industry led by by Richard Flint, Bob Greenwood, Maylon Newton and Jeremy O’Neal. And they’re all AMi approved! All ASA members are invited to attend this unforgettable experience of classic family fun and opportunities for sharing ideas and memories that are anything but old fashioned. “We urge our members to introduce their families to the ASA family for a memorable week of learning, networking and recognizing the amazing leaders in the automotive service and collision repair industry,” said Dan Risley,

ASA president and executive director. “And they’ll experience it all in the heart of one of the most magical places on earth, with access to Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the shops, restaurants and nightlife at Disney’s boardwalk.” Sponsors for the event include Babcox, AutoZone and Federated Insurance. Sponsorships are still available. Contact Dan Risley, at danr@ for additional sponsorship opportunities. Hotel registration is now open. For details, visit annualmeeting.n

Anti-Safety Inspection Legislation Introduced in Missouri Missouri Rep. J. Eggleston, R-2, recently introduced House Bill (HB) 1444. If enacted, this legislation would repeal Missouri’s vehicle safety inspection program. In 2015, ASA hosted a safety inspection forum in St. Louis to draw attention to the importance of vehicle safety inspections by incorporating input from all segments of the automotive industry,

including state vehicle administrators, policymakers, automotive repairers and other sectors of the automotive industry. Missouri and other state studies have shown the value of these vehicle safety inspection programs in terms of saving lives, preventing injuries and damage to property. Regular vehicle safety inspections by a qualified technician can identify and repair most safety issues

March 2018

that arise from normal wear and tear on the vehicle. If enacted, this bill will eliminate a program specifically designed to protect the motoring public. Automotive Service Association opposes HB 1444 and encourages all interested parties in Missouri to visit and click “Alerts” to contact their state representatives in opposition.n

Southern Automotive Journal


Powertrain preferences While consumers appear more apt to embrace emerging technology in the form of autonomous vehicles, many are brushing off newer powertrain options in favor of traditional engines. Most U.S. consumers (80 percent) still favor either a gasoline or diesel engine, up slightly from 76 percent in 2017, and only 15 percent said they would choose a hybrid engine in their next vehicle. "The economics of electric vehicles compared to traditional powertrains are presently not favorable enough for either consumers or automotive companies," said Joe Vitale, global automotive leader, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. "However, two significant trends could move us closer to the tipping point: battery cost reduction and government regulation. The trend toward mandating electrified powertrains — not merely demanding increased fuel efficiency

or better carbon footprints, especially in Europe and China — lays out a 'must-do' path for global car makers. Also, as automakers simultaneously begin to broadly partner on building out the electric charging infrastructure and developing other value-added services that increase the convenience factor for consumers, electric vehicles can become a desirable alternative for most consumers." Deloitte's research also finds that consumers are not willing to pay much more for autonomous vehicles. Deloitte's most recent consumer survey data on the topic found that in countries such as Germany (50 percent), the U.S. (38 percent) and Japan (31 percent) consumers were unwilling to pay extra money for these vehicles. The findings were similar for electric vehicles, where 42 percent of German consumers and just over onethird of people in Japan and the U.S. said they are unwilling to cover additional costs to get alternative powertrain technology. Giffi notes, however: "As exciting as autonomous-vehicle technology looks to

be, and despite the current higher interest and acceptance of autonomous technology versus electric vehicles in consumers' minds, government regulations look to be forcing the investment in electrified vehicle technology. Deloitte's study suggests that auto manufacturers developing and bringing advanced vehicle technology to market, such as autonomous vehicles, should simultaneously create new business models that can sustain an appropriate return on investment. Finally, given the over 1 billion conventional vehicles on roads around the world today, and the tens of millions that continue to be sold on an annual basis which are all expected to last well over a decade, the transformation to greater adoption of autonomous driving and electric powertrains will take quite some time to reach a tipping point. Automakers must balance ongoing innovation and new business models with the need to sell, service and delight today's consumers with improved technology they are most willing to pay for in the near term, such as safety.n




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Southern Automotive Journal

March 2018

businesses within the same geographic area. Do not under any circumstance delete a needed service from a damage analysis to simply match an insurance cost estimate. Make note of any repairs that are unpaid but completed, as they may be able to be written off as bad debt (depending on the situation). It is up to each shop to stand by their

Being paid for the work a shop performs is a constant battle. Erica and proper repair falls to the shop itself, encourages shops to push back against but insurers are increasingly pushing to efforts to undermine true shop costs. If cut repair costs in any way possible. This an insurer claims that a shop is charging is leading to either improper repairs, or for items that other shops do not or do forcing shops to eat expenses in order so at a lower rate, ask for samples of to deliver a quality repair. paid final invoices from the same geoThis leads to Erica’s point about graphic area. Also, labor rates need to documentabe based on the tion. Shops must same rate that document everywalk-in customthing no matter er off the street The insurers cost estimate is not a blueprint on how to what. The differwould pay, not a ence between discounted volfix the car, it is an accounting tool used to document loss a cost estimate ume rate. Do not versus a damage disguise labor and anticipate how much money to reserve on a claim. analysis is more rates with lump important than sum concesever. While the sions. If specialinsurance comty repairs cost Erica Eversman, Chief Counsel at Vehicle panies focus on more per hour, cost estimates, do not simply Information Services, Inc. and founder of the it is the repair inflate the numshops who write ber of hours Automotive Education & Policy Institute the damage required for a analysis that will repair (which bring the vehimay be seen as cle back to safe insurance fraud). operating condiModern vehicle tion. The insurers cost estimate is not damage analysis, as it is the shop who materials require specialized training to a blueprint on how to fix the car, it is ultimately bears responsibility for the repair correctly and should be compenan accounting tool used to document quality of the repair. sated accordingly. loss and anticipate how much money Post-repair collision safety has Erica urges shops to examine their to reserve on a claim. Some insurers will become a hot topic in the repair indusrates once a year after taxes are filed and simply suggest that the shop use their try recently thanks to several high proafter a complete analysis of business cost estimate as a basis for their damage file lawsuits. The case which has garhealth. Review any cost increases and analysis. Do NOT do this! Shops need nered the most attention lately involves make sure those increases are reflected to create their own detailed damage Texas couple Marcia and Matthew in the shop rates. At a minimum rates analysis and stand by it. Seebachan and their lawsuit against should be increased yearly by the inflaErica points out that you should John Eagle Collision Center. Their 2010 tion rate as tracked by the consumer never deviate from a damage analysis Honda Fit sustained hail damage and price index. Once it is determined how in order to match a cost estimate. From was repaired using a replacement roof much to raise rates, send notification of a legal standpoint, anything not listed panel. The panel was designed to be all rate increases to insurers via regison the final invoice was not performed. welded in place per instructions from tered mail. For example, the insurance company the Honda body repair manual, but the At the end of the evening Erica may balk at paying to align the headrepair shop elected to use glue instead. fielded questions from the attendees lights. The shop does the work anyway This altered how the body and safety and encouraged everyone to complete to satisfy the customer and leaves it cage acted during a collision, which the VRS Labor Rate Survey. She pressed off the final invoice. If the vehicle is in turn badly injured the Seebachans. again on how important it is to be later in an accident where visibility is A jury sided with the Seebachans and honest with what rates are required to blamed, the shop may be legally liable found the repair shop at fault, awarding truly run the business, not just what because there is no documentation a $42 million judgement. In this case a the insurance companies offer to pay. that the headlights were ever aligned. business decision to use glue versus the Only charging what the insurers will If an insurance company dismisses a manufacturer's specified welding had pay turns into a feedback loop with no charge as “something other shops don’t far reaching consequences beyond just potential way to increase rates to reflect charge for” ask for documentation from the cost of the repair. true business costs.n

GCIA Meeting From Page 16

March 2018

Southern Automotive Journal


MDX From Page 8 cornering to further enhance cornering control. In addition, since it doesn't rely on engine torque, electric SH-AWD can create a larger torque difference between the left and right rear wheels, even during small throttle applications, at low engine speeds or when decelerating. This substantially magnifies the positive handling benefits of SH-AWD across a much wider range of driving conditions.

Exterior Design

The MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD shares its body design with the MDX and MDX SH-AWD, offering the new MDX Diamond Pentagon grille, low and wide stance, spacious interior and cargo capacity, LED headlamps and fog lights, and a premium overall presentation. The MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD also includes dual exhausts mirroring those on the MDX, and an Auto High Beam feature that improves active safety, adds driver convenience, and allows the MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD to receive a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). A few external visual cues distinguish the MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD from the MDX and MDX SH-AWD at a glance. The lower side sills and front/ rear skid garnishes are painted body color instead of as-molded black. Additionally, the front fenders carry Hybrid badges and the remote-linked poweroperated tailgate displays an SH-AWD badge.


The MDX offers a high level of luxury, convenience and technology in a spacious cabin that's ideal for kids or clients. High-end appointments including new available genuine wood accent trim elevates the MDX's luxury ambience. With the MDX's long wheelbase and compact rear suspension design, smart interior packaging provides usable and versatile passenger and cargo space, 34

Southern Automotive Journal

and exceptionally easy third-row access. Available with seating for seven, or with an all-new 6-passenger configuration with luxurious second-row captain's chairs, the MDX interior offers welcoming comfort in every seating position. The One-Touch Walk-In feature for the third-row seats, along with a wide foot entry point and low step-in height, makes third-row ingress and egress simple. The Extended Slide feature for the second-row seats provides 5.9 inches of total fore-aft seat travel, p r o viding great flexibility in accommodating the needs of both second- and third-row passengers. Up front, the center console features a large storage area that can accommodate a medium sized purse and even a couple of tablet computers — something few competitors can match. The MDX interior builds on Acura's premium luxury design themes, with clean high-end detailing, intuitive functionality and elegant lines. An Acura design concept called "dual personal structure” guided development of the MDX. It divides the

out the interior, with high-quality, softtouch materials and available perforated Milano leather with stain resistant technology. For the first time ever, the MDX with the Advance Package offers the warm luxury of genuine wood interior accents.


The MDX Sport Hybrid powertrain boasts a total system output of 321 horsepower and 289 lb.-ft. of torque, making this the most powerful Acura production SUV ever

b u i l t . A 3.0 liter, 24-valve, SOHC V6 gas engine with i-VTEC® valvetrain and selectable idle-stop capability provides primary motive force, with a peak output of 257 horsepower (SAE net) at 6,300 rpm and 218 lb.-ft. of torque (SAE net) at 5,000 rpm. Three electric motors – a front motor built into the 7DCT, and a rear Twin Motor Unit (TMU) provide instant torque for a more responsive and vivid driving experience. An advanced 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT) is The MDX offers a standard – a feature in with the RLX high level of luxury, common Sport Hybrid SH-AWD convenience and sedan and closely related technology in a to the NSX 9-speed DCT. a conventional spacious cabin. Unlike automatic transmission, the DCT offers ultra-quick gear changes and operfront cabin space into areas centered ates without a torque converter, signifion the driver and front passenger, with cantly improving efficiency. The 7DCT a center stack and console that is easily can operate in fully automatic mode, or accessible to each person. Fit and finish it can be shifted manually via steering have received close attention throughwheel-mounted paddle shifters.n March 2018

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2018 03 saj  

Southern Automotive Journal provides news trends and perspectives to professionals in the automotive collision industry including, independe...

2018 03 saj  

Southern Automotive Journal provides news trends and perspectives to professionals in the automotive collision industry including, independe...