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Ford Flex


Fusion Hybrid Averages 81.5 MPG

June 2009

Sets World Record with 1,445 Miles

Shop Licensing Bill Introduced In North Carolina CCC Assembles External Industry Panel to Provide Estimating Insight Ford Refreshes Competitive Part Programs; Offers Deeper Discounts To Repairers

MECHANICAL NEWS Five More Members of Congress Support 'Right to Repair' Legislation

DEALER NEWS Majority Says the Struggles of the American Car Manufacturer Won't Impact Next Purchase

Mazda Furai Concept: The Embodiment Of Zoom-Zoom

As the latest in Mazda’s award-winning and highly acclaimed series of Nagare concept cars, the Furai P2 concept vehicle celebrates 40 years of rotary engine and international motorsports heritage with the raciest interpretation of NAGARE (pronounced “naga-reh”, Japanese for flow and the embodiment of motion) design language to-date. Furai (pronounced “foo-rye”, Japanese for sound of the wind) is the sort of car that could only come from a company that incor-

porates the “Soul of a Sports Car” into everything it builds, but with an eye toward the future and the environment through the use of renewable fuels. Driving toward sustainability, Furai was initially tuned to operate on 100 percent ethanol fuel, the first time a racing three-rotor rotary engine has been fueled by ethanol. Research continues Furai Please Turn to Page 4

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Furai From Front Cover in earnest with partner BP into other renewable and future fuels, including ethanol gasoline blends like E10. On any given weekend, there are

more Mazdas and Mazda-powered cars road-raced in North America than any other brand of car. This is because every Mazda sedan, coupe and sports car really is developed with the highest possible dose of the company’s trademark ZoomZoom – truly the Emotion of Motion. However, Zoom-Zoom is more than simply vehicle performance. The look and style that is Zoom-Zoom can best be seen in previous NAGAREbased efforts, including the Mazda Nagare concept that debuted at Los Angeles in 2006; Mazda Ryuga, which was first shown a year ago in Detroit; Mazda Hakaze, which appeared in Geneva last year; and Mazda Taiki, the star of the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. 

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“Nagare” is how Mazda’s future models will sustain the Zoom-Zoom spirit by exhibiting their strong affinity for motion. Manufacturers commonly showcase design studies with little or no inten-

future models. Instead of form following function, the two merge as one. Franz von Holzhausen, Mazda North American Operations’ (MNAO) Director of Design and the person who lead the

tion of actually using the theme presented. Mazda’s

team that created the Furai, explains the concept behind the concept, “We were looking for a way to bridge the gap between Mazda Motorsports and the production vehicles in our lineup. The mindsets of road-car and racing car fans are quite different, so the purpose of Furai is to find a meeting point for these disparate interests.” He continued, “Furai achieves this by purposely blurring boundaries that have traditionally distinguished the street from the track. Historically, there has been a gap between single-purpose racecars and street-legal models — commonly called supercars — that emulate the real racers on the road.” Track cars are, by their competitive nature, ill-suited for practical highway use, as well as generally far from road-legal. Some supercars visit the track on occasion, but they are primarily road

approach is the opposite: All of the Nagare concepts, including Furai, help evolve this evocative surface language for future use. Every vehicle Mazda sells embodies the soul of a sports car to achieve a true ZoomZoom dynamic character. Nagare is how this celebration of motion will be portrayed on interior and exterior surfaces in June 2009

Furai Please Turn to Page 14

New CCC Subrogate(TM) Solution Automates Key Final Steps of Claims Recovery Process

CCC Information Services Inc. recently announced the release of CCC Subrogate (TM) Solution, an automated single-point approach to help carriers improve cycle time and reduce losses by closing out a key component of the claims recovery process. "In today's economic climate carriers are rigorously vetting technology investments to ensure there is a substantial return on investment," said CCC Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, Debbie Day. "Subrogation claims represent large transaction volumes and have a significant impact on both loss costs and loss adjustment expense. This is an area for carriers to reduce costs, improve recoveries and provide a high return on investment." According to the National Association of Subrogation Professionals, carriers using an automated subrogation process recover an average of $60 more per file than those without. In addition, carriers with an automated solution average a 25 percent improvement on the time it takes to resolve a claim. The CCC Subrogate Solution provides carriers with a single-point approach to drive insight, efficiency and automation into the process by: •creating electronic claims files that help reduce the potential for error and reliance of a paper exchange; •making decisions based on a set of objective processes, not subjective analysis; •providing oversight into a carrier's subrogation operation, opening up the opportunity to improve their best practices and performance; and, •seamlessly leveraging claims folders. "Our subrogation offering utilizes our proven Web platform. For example, of the millions of claim folders residing on the CCC network, those having an associated subrogation demand can have other claim information automatically transferred over to the CCC Subrogate Solution," added Day. "We now provide, in one place, a clear view of the entire claims cycle from first notice of loss to the close of the claim and provide a recovery process that is focused on a carrier's ability to deliver real results."■ June 2009

Southern Automotive Journal


Provocative Ford Flex Dares To Be Different

Now it’s safe to add daring and intriguing to your list of adjectives describing Ford vehicles – the new Flex is here. Flex is a vehicle that dares to be different. Its contemporary design provokes strong opinions. Its new technologies are intelligent a n d engaging. All in all, Ford Flex is like no other vehicle on the road today, and that may mean it’s not for everyone. “Flex is provocative, no doubt about it,” said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Marketing and Communications. “The Flex is like nothing else on the road, and it defies being categorized. I have a feeling that Flex is going to appeal to a group of customers who feel absolutely the same way about themselves.” Ford is not predicting sales or trying to define a profile for the Flex target buyer but is confident that this “white space” vehicle’s distinctiveness will have strong allure. Marketing efforts will focus on the fascination of a stylish vehicle that com

Southern Automotive Journal

cates intrigue than definition.


Flexing its Character From its planted stance and broad shoulders – flanked by signature side grooves – to its all-black greenhouse and distinctive multi-panel Vista Roof, Ford designers have created a provocative vehicle. In a world of automobiles that are easy to categorize, Flex is difficult to define and polarizing. Embracing that enigmatic nature was the key breakthrough in the design process, according to Peter Horbury, executive director, Design, The Americas. “Flex is a radical departure,” Horbury says. “At first we were uncomfortable with the way Flex could polarize, but its ability to compel an opinion, good or bad, June 2009

was fascinating. It inspired us forward with courage to create a breakthrough design.” Flex’s prominent stance is a key design element setting it apart from all other vehicles. Park Ford Flex next to an SUV or a typical crossover. The proportions are immediately surprising. Capping the horizontal design cues in bold contrast is the unique roof of the new Ford Flex. Available in two colors, White Suede or Brilliant Silver, the roof contrasts stylishly with the Flex exterior paint palette. “The all-black greenhouse allowed us to do the complementing color roof,” said Flex Designer Rich Gressens. “If we had body colored pillars and clear glass, it would have been difficult to do, but it all ties in together.” Style, Luxury and Space for Individuality The exterior design of the Flex creates interest, but it’s the surprising space and comfort for seven, the elegant, upscale style and clever flexibility of the interior that will magnetically keep people in the new Flex. “We wanted the interior to be a place of contemporary, relaxed style – Flex Please Turn to Page 7

Flex From Page 6

somewhere you could feel very comfortable, yet involved and connected,” said Anthony Prozzi, chief interior designer. “The interior presents an environment that is radically different,” he added. “You’ll notice the improvement in materials, the appointments and the general appearance of the car. Even the way you interact with the car will be different because of all the new technology we’re introducing.” Smart Features for the Demanding Lifestyle Flex is packed with innovative, classleading technology solutions that seek to empower, not overpower the driver. Ford SYNC™, a Ford-exclusive, voice-activated, hands-free, in-vehicle communications and entertainment system offers even more functionality for the 2009 model year, with 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Reports. SIRIUS Travel Link that when combined with voice activated navigation will provide users with a suite of data services including real-time traffic, coast-to-coast weather conditions and fuel price infor-

mation for over 12 0 , 0 0 0 gas stations.

Voiceactivated nav- igation that integrates several functions, including destination entry, climate control and SIRIUS satellite radio into one easy-to-use system with information displayed on a 8-inch touch-screen display. Sony audio system that features 700 watts of power, 5.1 surround sound and 10 speakers is certified by Sony to deliver a unique, rich listening experience. EasyFuel™ capless fuel filler. This exclusive feature saves time by replacing a fuelfiller cap and provides a better seal, reducing the release of smogforming vapors. Ambient Lighting. Flex owners can program any of seven different interior lighting colors to fit their mood. With this feature, customers can change the lighting on two light-emitting diodes

(LEDs) mounted on the front console, footwells and around the two front cupholders. Class-exclusive refrigerated console. Mounted between the second-row captain’s chairs, the available compressordriven refrigerator can cool up to seven 12-ounce cans, four half-liter bottles or two 20-ounce bottles from room temperature to 41 degrees in a little more than two-and-a-half hours – 40 percent faster than a standard home refrigerator.

Flex is powered by Ford’s awardwinning 3.5-liter V6 engine delivering 262 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm, mated to a fuel-efficient, advanced 6-speed automatic transmission that uses a wide 6.04:1 gear ratio to deliver good fuel economy and performance.■

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Southern Automotive Journal


Five More Members of Congress Support 'Right to Repair' Legislation Following the recent introduction of the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act (HR 2057) into the 111th Congress, the bill gained five more co-sponsors last week, according to Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). "Within a week of the bill's introduction, the inclusion of these five members of Congress from both sides of the aisle signals growing support in Congress for the Right to Repair Act," said Schmatz.

"We applaud their commitment to ensuring that motorists in their districts retain the choice of where to have their vehicles serviced and repaired." Because vehicles are becoming increasingly sophisticated with virtually every system either monitored or controlled by computers, servicing these vehicle systems to keep them in safe working condition requires ready access to complete and accurate information from the car companies. The Right to Repair Act (HR 2057) was introduced in

Congress to ensure that car owners and their trusted repair shops have the same access to safety alerts and repair information as the franchised new car dealer network. "Right to Repair has become more important than ever as motorists seek new neighborhood repair shops because a dealership has closed in their area," continued Schmatz. "This important piece of legislation ensures that local auto repair remains available to car owners throughout the country."■

savings for both attendees and exhibitors. Housing reservations can now be made online for the upcoming International

Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) and the Congress of Automotive Repair & Service (CARS). These industry events, sponsored by Automotive Service Association (ASA), are co-located at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 4-7 and take place during the second annual Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW). “We worked diligently with the hotels to ensure they offered the lowest possible rates,” said Lindsay Roberts, director, Hanley Wood Exhibitions. “The rates we were able to secure for our room blocks are the lowest in recent years. We urge attendees and exhibitors to make their reservations now to secure their preferred hotel.” Reduced rates are available at all official NACE and CARS hotel blocks - rates as low as $149 for Mandalay Bay and THEhotel; $109 for MGM (new in 2009 block); $109 for Luxor; $41$83 for Excalibur; and $119 for New York-New York. A m e r i c a n , Continental, JetBlue, Northwest and WestJet will serve as official airlines, offering service from destiNACE Please Turn to Page 19

2009 Hotel Rates 30-70% Lower for NACE and CARS Online housing for NACE and CARS 2009 opens with hotel rates 30-70% lower than 2008 rates, resulting in outstanding


Southern Automotive Journal

June 2009

ASA Launches PR Kit for Members The Automotive Service Association Additional items include an image able to members as downloadable PDF (ASA) has launched its new PR Kit to checklist for repair businesses, tips on and/or Microsoft Word documents in the help members promote their business working with local media and suggesMembers Only section of the ASA Web as well as their affiliation with ASA. The tions for ASA logo placement. The PR Kit site ( ASA members kit contains an array of pre-written press is the latest addition to ASA's growing may access this section by using their releases, photography tips, print- and collection of business tools designed six-digit member number and followWeb-based advertising samples and to assist members in their day-to-day ing the prompts in the top right section suggestions, and an audio clip ready for operations. These documents are free of the home page and then click on use on members' Web sites. and serve as a great supplement to the "ASA's PR Kit." ASA members may call "ASA's PR Kit is designed to be a various consumer brochures available (800) ASA-SHOP (272-7467), ext. 295, to dynamic collection of tools and tips for for purchase at acquire their membership number.n ASA members. Enhancements to the kit All items in ASA's PR Kit are availmay occur on an ongoing basis as a result of member feedback and the creation of additional business aids," said Angie Wilson, ASA's vice president of marketing and communications. "We're extremely pleased to bring these tools to our members to help te vewith 30 Years of GM me S o c Parts Experience l them in their business communiWe Local We cation efforts." 770.274.1131 Toll Free: The core of the kit is com1.800.727.5920 STEVE prised of pre-written, customizable press releases for all occaGM Exclusise Parts Team le ! sions. These releases may be b a l i Direct GM Ava downloaded and edited to meet 706-776-1144 Now each member's needs, then forToll Free warded electronically to their 866-262-7407 DONALD Fax MANAGER local media representatives. The Ext. 706-776-7398 125 kit currently includes the following press release templates: Anniversary Date Aw a r d / H o n o r / Ce r t i f i c a t i o n JIMMY KEN AJ ROGER Recipient EXT. EXT. EXT. 126 135 123 Celebrate Customer Count (millionth, etc.) Direct Conncect Sales for GM - Chrysler -Aftermarket Customer Appreciation Day Contest/Prize Environmental Program Green Shop Status KELI CHRIS MATT FRANKLIN ANDY LEE KEVIN ARNOLD Local Local Local Local New Membership in ASA Local Local Local Local 478.971.1379 770.274.1127 770.274.1121 770.274.1130 770.274.1128 770.274.1122 770.274.1123 770.274.1126 New Staff Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: 1.800.727.5912 1.800.727.4702 1.800.727.5593 1.866.399.4245 1.800.727.5611 1.800.344.9017 1.800.727.5015 1.800.727.5641 New Hours of Operation FAX 478.971.8248 Customer Support New Ownership New Location (move or expanCustomer Ser vice Team sion) New Ownership (generational) New Service Offered CHUCK BRENDA AFTERMARKET MANAGER MARKETING MANAGER CLIFF JERRY DAN JIM New Specialty Equipment Special Promotional Offer Sponsorship /Community Involvement Web/Online Scheduling June 2009

Southern Automotive Journal

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Despite Continued Low Sales Levels, New-Vehicle Retail Sales Show Signs of Stabilizing

New-vehicle retail sales during the first 16 selling days in April were down by approximately 33 percent compared with the same period one year ago; however, the market does show signs of stabilizing, according to J.D. Power and Associates, which gathers real-time transaction data from more than 10,000 dealerships across the United States. New-vehicle retail sales for the month of April are expected to come in at 668,000 units, which represent a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 7.8 million units. This is down by 33 percent from one year ago, but stable with the February and March SAARs of 7.7 and 7.9 million units, respectively. Total industry sales for April

(including fleet sales) were projected to be 853,000 units, which translates to a SAAR of 9.7 million units. "Industry sales are starting to show signs of stability--albeit at levels near 30-year lows--as the retail sales SAAR has been at or near the 7.8 million-unit level for the past three months," said Gary Dilts, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. "In spite of continued supply corrections, we remain optimistic that coming months will exhibit stability with a modest increase in the second half of the year, which is in line with our 8.5 million-unit retail and 10.4 million-unit total light-vehicle forecast for 2009."

J.D. Power and Associates estimates potential growth in vehicle demand of 20 million units during the next five years. This will be driven primarily by an increase in the number of households, consumers returning to the market with more vehicle equity in an improved credit environment, and an improved economy that will yield enhanced consumer options in the automotive market driven by new-vehicle launches. "We expect market conditions to slowly improve during the remainder of 2009, which will lead us back to a solid industry with improved long-term fundamental growth," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates.â–

According to a recent survey, 59 percent of consumers said that the current economy and struggles of the American car manufacturers will have no impact on whether or not their next car purchase will be an American car. The survey, which was intended to gauge how the economy and various government and manufacturer incentives have impacted car shoppers, also showed that only 1 in 5 consumers said the threat of bankruptcy would likely preclude them from considering an American car with their next purchase. "I think it's clear that most

Americans believe that the American car manufacturers are going to survive in some capacity and many are just taking a wait and see approach like many other facets of this economy," said Editor in Chief Patrick Olsen. "The survey also showed that the older you are the more likely you believe in the survival of these companies." More than 40 percent of consumers between the ages of 45-64 said they were confident that the American manufacturers would succeed vs. 12 percent of consumers between the ages of 18-24. When it comes to the various gov-

ernment and manufacturer incentives designed to bolster consumer confidence in the auto industry, 38 percent said that the government's announcement that it will allow consumers to deduct the state sales tax on new car purchases would provide the biggest incentive to purchase a new car; 28 percent said the various manufacturer assurance programs that provide support if the purchaser of a new vehicle losses their job would have the greatest impact; and 13 percent said that government backed manufacturer warranties was the most valuable incentive.â–

Majority Says the Struggles of the American Car Manufacturer Won't Impact Next Purchase

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CCC Assembles External Industry Panel to Provide Estimating Insight With the announcement of its new Technical Advisory Panel, CCC Information Services Inc. today introduces an increased level of transparency into updates to CCC’s estimating solution. The Technical Advisory Panel - comprised of external industry members representing collision repair facilities, auto manufacturers, automotive refinish manufacturers, industry edu-

cators, insurance carriers and database providers - will review modifications and provide recommendations affecting estimate value. In addition, CCC will have three panel representatives with more than 65 years of practical collision repair and estimating experience. “Providing transparency into CCC’s decisions will strengthen our solutions, and will benefit the industry,” said CCC’s

Automotive Services Group General Manager, Jim Dickens. “This panel will represent an industry voice prior to moving forward with any changes that go into production. Collision repair technology is emerging at such a fast pace that it’s critical to quickly tap a collaborative process that helps our customers write estimates that reflect a quality repair in accordance with MOTOR Guide to Estimating.”n

Missouri House Protects State Safety Inspection Program he Missouri House of Representatives has eliminated the language in Senate Bill 58 that would have caused serious harm to Missouri's state vehicle safety inspection program. Missouri S.B. 58, an act that modifies several provisions of law relating to transportation, would have exempted vehicles from safety inspection testing for their first 10 years, which would have allowed a car to have been driven 150,000 miles or more (based on the average annual mileage of 15,000) before its first vehicle safety inspection. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) opposed S.B. 58 because it would have allowed unsafe vehicles to traverse

the roads and highways of Missouri and placed unknowing drivers and passengers at risk. In a letter to Missouri repair shop owners, Robert L. Redding Jr., ASA's Washington, D.C., representative, asked repairers to contact their legislators to oppose provisions diluting the safety inspection program. The letter noted that "Missouri's safety inspection program has been a model for other states. Missouri law enforcement officials are to be commended for the program's contributions." Redding said, "We want to thank Missouri repair shop owners for contacting their legislators asking that they oppose efforts to weaken the state safety inspection program. This should be an

June 2009

example to repairers in other states that speaking up does have value in the political process." Approximately 20 states have some form of periodic motor vehicle safety inspection program. Programs in Missouri and North Carolina often face the threat of elimination. ASA is working in an industry coalition to protect current programs and expand inspection programs to other states. Legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. Congress that will encourage states to initiate new programs. To view the updated version of this bill, please visit ASA's legislative Web site at

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All-New 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic Adds More Nostalgic Flavor to Modern American Muscle Car

The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger delivers the best of modern American muscle-car characteristics— unmistakable design, world-class handling, powerful engines and technology. The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic goes further with even more memorable blast-from-the-past design cues.

“Our all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic is more than a modern-day muscle machine, it pays homage to one of the most storied nameplates in automotive history,” said Dan Knott, Vice President—Car / Minivan / SRT Product Team, Chrysler LLC. “With heritage-inspired dualwide body-side R/T stripes, original ‘Challenger’ heritage badging and the newest generation of our legendary 5.7liter HEMI® V-8 engine, the new 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic delivers the greatness of our pony car past with advanced fuel-efficient muscle.”

Based on the powerful 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T, the Dodge Challenger R/T Classic not only delivers a menacing look and premium equipment—its powertrain delivers an unforgettable punch. With dual throwback A-line body-side R/T stripes, ‘Challenger’ fender badging in classic script, large 20-inch polishedchrome heritage wheels with all-season performance tires, classic egg-crate grille with heritage ‘R/T’ badge, bodycolor rear spoiler and chromed fuel-filler door—the Dodge Challenger R/T Classic is unmistakable. “Dodge Challenger has a rich performance heritage and the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic encompasses

numerous technologies that allow great on-road performance while delivering proven-quality and refinement to ensure its place in the Dodge pony car history,” said Knott. The 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic tucks its legendary 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine under a long, raised performance hood with functional hood scoops to increase engine cooling. The newest generation 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine features dual variable-cam timJune 2009

ing (VCT) and dual ignition (two spark plugs per cylinder) to increase power and torque, while improving refinement and efficiency. When paired with the Tremec sixspeed manual transmission, the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic features the performance-minded Track Pak’s precision-shift “pistol-grip” shifter, bright pedals, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with defeatable traction control, Hill Start Assist (HSA), four-wheel disc performance braking system and an antispin 3.92 differential. A performancetuned dual exhaust optimizes engine back pressure and exhaust throatiness by replacing the standard under-floor muffler with two low-restriction bottle resonators. The result, a powerful 376 horsepower (280 kW)

and 410 lb.-ft. of torque (556 N•m) that can accelerate the Dodge Challenger Challenger Please Turn to Page 24 Southern Automotive Journal


Furai From Page 4 cars not properly equipped for racing. The aim of Furai is to bridge this gap. That said, Mazda neither intends to race Furai, nor is it a supercar the company plans to build and sell in the near future. Rather, Furai is a design study that lives between those extremes. Without the restrictions imposed by serial production models, and with the freedom of an autoshow environment, Mazda is using the opportunity to evolve the company’s Nagare design theme one more step closer to reality. Instead of mimicking racecar components and design elements in a road car – the strategy preferred by supercar manufacturers – the “Mazda way” was to begin this project with the real McCoy: a Courage

C65 chassis that earned its stripes during two seasons of LMP-2 endurance racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). This sports car was successfully campaigned under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner by BK Motorsports during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Drivers 14

Southern Automotive Journal

Jamie Bach, Guy Cosmo, Elliott ForbesRobinson, and Raphael Matos piloted the car to one victory and a total of nine podium finishes in 15 ALMS events. B-K finished third in championship standings both years; Bach and Cosmo were coRookies of the Year in 2005.

“Anticipating future rules changes in the ALMS, we created a new closed cockpit which would be more appropriate for a future production model,” said von Holzhausen. “The major element we did not change is the 450-horsepower RENESIS-based R20B three-rotor rotary engine that provides Furai ample ZoomZoom. The ultimate Mazda in our minds is rotary powered; as a company, we have no intention of abandoning that valuable asset. When people think of the very best sports cars in the world, the rotary powered Mazda RX-7 is always on that list.” The Furai concept serves as a turning point in the Nagare developmental process. While the four previous concept cars explored different ways to express Mazda’s emerging design philosophy and to explore an aesthetic, this one is all June 2009

about function – every last texture and detail serves some functional purpose. In essence, the Furai creative process boiled down to guiding air over and through the body in fruitful ways. To prove that this concept goes far beyond static aerodynamic analysis, Mazda’s design, motorsports and R&D teams worked together to construct Furai as a 180-mph rolling laboratory to demonstrate its functional capabilities on demand. “The basic proportions of co ntemp or ar y race cars are every designer’s dream,” enthused von Holzhausen. “Furai is less than 40-inches high but nearly 80inches wide.” While Furai strikes an incredibly strong presence, the real beauty of the project – and it’s most valuable asset as a real-world test-bed – is in the details that von Holzhausen and his team incorporated: •The body surface provides ample opportunity to feature core design elements such as aggressive headlamps and Mazda’s trademark five-point grille. •The headlamp trim pieces function as guide frames to help cancel aerodynamic lift. •High-pressure zones just above the front wheels are relieved to serve the same end. The air flow package takes air moving under the front of the car and guides it inside the body to the enginecooling radiators. •Nagare textures incorporated in the side surfaces feed air to the rear brakes, the oil cooler and the transmission cooler. •An under-car diffuser that begins rising aft of the cockpit helps draw the volume of air flowing through the heat exchangers and engine bay out the rear.n

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ASA Members Receive Dividend from Meadowbrook Insurance Group Automotive Service Association (ASA) members who carry workers' compensation coverage through Meadowbrook Insurance Group and who meet eligibility requirements will receive a dividend as a result of participating in the ASA Group Program. The dividend represents a 3 percent return of annual premium and shows that workplace safety is a solid investment. "Every time you prevent an injury, you are keeping your profits where they belong and strengthening your bottom line," said Nancy Clay, Meadowbrook Insurance Group association manager. "Fewer accidents mean lower claim costs, which help keep your insurance premiums low. Earned dividends are a great example of how safety pays. We're pleased to be able to provide the members of ASA with this earned dividend." It is the participation in the ASA Group Program with Meadowbrook that gives ASA members the potential to reduce workers' compensation premiums and qualify for this type of dividend. Meadowbrook is a longtime ASA sponsored

benefit provider. "Everyone wins when workplace safety is improved. I want to thank all of the ASA member shops that improved their safety practices. Now there is a reward for your effort," said John Scully, ASA executive vice president. "It is very exciting for ASA to be able to offer the dividend program with Meadowbrook Insurance." Founded in 1955, Meadowbrook Insurance Group consists of five domestic insurance carriers. Meadowbrook is consistently ranked as one of the largest insur-

ance agencies in the nation, underwriting and managing more than $750 million in annual premiums. Meadowbrook offers ASA members workers' compensation and other business insurance needs, as well as interest-free pay plans and professional safety services specifically for the automotive and repair industry. For more info about the workers' compensation programs available to ASA members, visit www. or call Meadowbrook directly at (800) 825-9489 and mention you are a member of ASA.■

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Fusion Hybrid Averages 81.5 MPG, Sets World Record with 1,445 Miles on Single Tank of Gas

Drivers trained in mileage-maximizing techniques such as smooth acceleration and coasting to red lights were able to get an extraordinary 1,445.7 miles out of a single tank of gas during a fund-raising effort in Washington, D.C. that concluded today. They did it by averaging 81.5 miles per gallon in an off-the-showroom floor, non-modified 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuelefficient midsize car in North America - nearly doubling its U.S. certified mileage. The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge started at 8:15 a.m. EDT on Saturday, April 25, from Mount Vernon, Va., and ended this morning at 5:37 a.m. on George Washington Parkway in Washington, D.C. After more than 69 continuous hours of driving, the Fusion Hybrid finally depleted its tank and came to a stop with an odometer reading of 1,445.7 miles - setting a world record for gasoline-powered, midsize sedan. The challenge team, which included NASCAR star Carl Edwards, high mileage trailblazer Wayne Gerdes and several Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) engineers, raised more than $8,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) by exceeding the goal of 1,000 miles on a sin single tank of gas. The


Fusion Hybrid's official estimated range is approximately 700 miles per tank. "Not only does this demonstrate the Fusion Hybrid's fuel efficiency, it also shows that driving technique is one of the keys to maximizing its potential," said Nancy Gioia, director, Ford Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs. "The fact that we were able raise much needed funds for JDRF while raising the bar on fuel efficient driving performance made the effort doubly worthwhile." A team of seven drivers prepared for the challenge by learning a few mileage-maximizing techniques, most of which can be used in any vehicle to improve fuel economy, but are especially useful in the Fusion Hybrid where the driver can take advantage of pure electric energy at speeds below 47 mph. founder Wayne Gerdes, an engineer from Illinois who coined the term "hypermiling" to describe the mileage-maximizing techniques, provided the pointers. They include: Slowing down and maintaining even throttle pressure; Gradually accelerating and smoothly braking; Maintaining a safe distance between vehicles and anticipating traffic conditions;

Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste and brake wear; Minimize use of heater and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine; Close windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag; Applying the "Pulse and Glide" technique while maintaining the flow of traffic; Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle's kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed; and Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum "You become very aware of your driving because you're constantly looking for opportunities to maximize mileage, and a more aware driver is a safer driver, too," said Gil Portalatin, Ford hybrid applications manager. In addition, it is important for Fusion Hybrid drivers to manage the battery system's state of charge through the use of regenerative braking and coasting, and balancing the use of the electric motor and gas engine in city driving to avoid wasting fuel. Fusion Hybrid drivers also can stay Fusion Please Turn to Page 22

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HR 2057, The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act, Reintroduced in Congress The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act, legislation that allows consumers to continue to choose where they have their vehicles repaired was reintroduced into the 111th Congress on April 22, 2009. "HR 2057, known as the Right to Repair Act, goes to the heart of American property rights and ownership. When motorists purchase their vehicles, they should have the right to own their vehicles' electronic, diagnostic and repair information so that they can make affordable and convenient repair choices, whether that choice is an independent repair shop or a car dealership," said Ray Pohlman, President, Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). "As vehicles become more and more computerized, soon consumers will be very limited on repair options. In some cases, they will be forced to take the vehicles back to the new car dealerships even when their

vehicles are out-of-warranty." Vehicles that are 1994 and newer (and some earlier models) are equipped with computers that control the repair and service information on most of the vehicles' systems, including, but not limited to: air bags, brakes, emissions (check engine light), tire pressure, oil changes, electronics, ignition systems and keys and transmissions. In many cases, the only way for motorists to have these systems repaired is to return to the new car dealership. U.S. Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY), the lead Right to Repair sponsor, stated, "By guaranteeing access to vehicle repair information, we can empower consumers and give them the opportunity to choose where, how and by whom to have their vehicles repaired. We reintroduced The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act so Brooklynites can have the option of self-


servicing their vehicle, or the freedom to use an automotive independent repair shop or a car dealership to meet their auto needs." Joining Rep. Towns as original sponsors are Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA). Rep. Towns is the Chairman of the Government Management, Organization and Procurement Committee and serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Representative Eshoo is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Rep. Miller is Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) conducted a 'first-of-its-kind' study which illustrated the enormous cost-benefit to consumers when their vehicles are repaired in the independent repair industry. The study HR 2057 Please Turn to Page 30

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Ford Refreshes Competitive Part Programs; Offers Deeper Discounts To Repairers Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) has updated the offerings on each of its two competitive parts initiatives – the Collision Parts Truckload Program and the “Steel the Sale” program. Thirty-seven new parts – all with significant list-price reductions – are now available on Ford’s popular Truckload program, including wheels, radiators, exterior lighting, mirrors, steel bumpers, isolators, fascias, one valance, a bracket and a grill opening reinforcement. “Steel the Sale,” which targets Ford’s most competitive sheet metal parts – hoods, fenders and tailgates – has seen the list price of its 54 program parts trimmed by an average of 3.6 percent, allowing dealers to more effectively compete with the imitation

crash parts in the market. It’s the second price reduction on those parts in the last 10 months. Ford launched the program in July 2008, by cutting the list prices to within 10 percent of average aftermarket list. “Both programs offer repairers and insurers the ability to provide our customers – Ford vehicle owners – with the genuine parts needed for a complete and safe repair at a competitive price,” said George Gilbert, manager of both FCSD part programs. To achieve its competitiveness in the market, the Ford Truckload program utilizes reduced packaging costs, in combination with discounted list prices, and passes the savings on to collision repair shops that purchase the parts from participating Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers. It now includes more than 390

high-volume collision parts covering more than a dozen party types. The 37 new parts added to the Truckload program, and the respective average list-price reductions include: one valance (- 50.2 percent); two tail lamps (-39.7 percent); three wheels (-38.4 percent); six radiators (-30.6 percent); three steel bumpers (- 29.1 percent); a grille opening reinforcement (-28.4 percent); two isolators and a bracket (25.9 percent); eight fascias (23.8 percent); six mirrors (-16.8 percent) and four headlamps (-13.1 percent). For more information on FCSD’s Truckload and “Steel the Sale” programs, or for a list of the parts currently available on either, contact your local Ford or Lincoln Mercury collision parts wholesaling dealer or the Ford Collision Parts Hotline at■

Fusion From Page 20

Parkway to a 3-mile stretch in the heart of the city that is clogged with roughly 30 traffic signals. "The Fusion Hybrid works brilliantly," Gerdes said. "When you don't need acceleration power while driving around town, the gas engine shuts down seamlessly. There's not another hybrid drivetrain in the world that does that as effectively. The Fusion engineering team really knocked it out of the park." Ford NASCAR star Carl Edwards took time away from the high speed world of professional car racing to con-

tribute to the Fusion Hybrid team's success in D.C. "It was exciting to be an active part in this challenge. The fact that it will help spread the word about the Fusion Hybrid's great mileage, and help out a great charity, makes it even more special," said Edwards, whose '99' team has used fuel-saving techniques to win races. "There's no question that the Fusion Hybrid will help consumers save fuel when they drive it. Having driven the car, I feel strongly about how great it is - so strong that I've purchased one

more connected to the hybrid driving experience with Ford's SmartGauge(TM) with EcoGuide, a unique instrument cluster that helps coach drivers on how to optimize performance of their hybrid. The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge team took turns driving several routes in and around the national capital over the course of approximately three days and nights. The route involved elevation changes, and ranged from the relatively open George Washington

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R/T Classic from zero to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. When paired with the automatic transmission, the new-generation 5.7liter HEMI® V-8 includes the fuel-saving multi-displacement system (MDS) allowing Dodge Challenger R/T Classic to operate economically on four cylinders, or produce 372 horsepower (277 kW) and 401 lb.-ft. of torque (544 N•m) when all eight cylinders are needed. On the interior, the trapezoidal theme of the door-panel cove and gauge cluster, dark headliner

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Congressional Support for Right to Repair Waning The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (The Alliance), the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM) and the Automotive Service Association (ASA) cited the progress that has been made in the almost seven years since Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., facilitated a service information sharing agreement. The agreement is seen as the reason for diminished Congressional support for so-called "right to repair" legislation. Dave McCurdy, CEO of The Alliance, said: "Manufacturers recognize the importance of the independent repair industry and remain committed to ensuring that consumers have the option of using the repairer of their choice to service their vehicles." Congressional support for the "Right to Repair Act" has diminished as the voluntary agreement has been implemented. Just this week, the legislation was reintroduced, although this time with only two co-sponsors. Today's automotive engineers are using computers in innovative ways to produce even safer and cleaner vehicles. And while automotive computers monitor and control everything from airbag safety systems and anti-lock brakes to Global Positioning Systems (GPS), fuel economy and emissions controls, they also require independent repairers to invest in the tools, training and equipment necessary to properly service these automobiles. Mike Stanton, AIAM president and CEO, said: "All information necessary to service and repair motor vehicles is currently available to independent repairers. All they need are a credit card and an Internet connection to access this information on Web sites maintained by every manufacturer selling vehicles in America today. This legislation does not remedy problems associated with independent technicians who may simply be untrained or unsure where to go to assess the repair information for vehicles that pass through their shop doors."

To help resolve service- and repairrelated issues, independent repairers are encouraged to work through the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF). NASTF serves as a forum to identify and resolve gaps involving motor vehicle repair information and tools. This national, voluntary solution has proven to be an effective resource for repairers and manufacturers alike, and over the course of the past eight years, has managed to develop an effective forum to point independent repairers to the information and tools they need and to provide a mechanism to report and resolve the few gaps that

June 2009

remain. Ron Pyle, president of ASA, said: "ASA is proud of the progress made for independent repairers relative to service, training and tool information. The 2002 ASA-Automaker agreement has provided our industry with a model for information that will ensure repairers have access to the necessary repair information for the foreseeable future. This model is indicative of the industry's ability to resolve many important issues in the marketplace without government intervention when the automotive industry works together."n

Southern Automotive Journal


Jackson Acura Joins Overnight Parts Alliance

Would a 20-percent increase in sales help your bottom line? That’s the growth that Jackson Acura parts manager David Russell says his operation has enjoyed since becoming one of the more recent additions to the Overnight Parts Alliance (OPA) just three months ago. A Birmingham-based group, the OPA is an association of parts departments from dealerships in Alabama and Georgia – representing 25 automotive brands, as well as providing a source for aftermarket parts. An economy-of-scale logistics operation, OPA services customers in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. Parts scheduled for nextday delivery are trucked to a central distribution center in Birmingham by participating dealers. The trucks are stocked according to delivery areas.

Fewer trucks and less time are required because it takes only one truck to deliver a customer’s entire order regardless of brand. “The customer places an order, we ship it to Birmingham, and it’s delivered,” Russell said. “As long as we have the order by 3 PM Eastern time – more or less – we can ship it for next-day delivery.” A team of OPA sales people call on customers throughout the Southeast promoting the alliance dealership members. Business has been steadily building for Roswell, Georgia’s Jackson Acura since joining the OPA three months ago. “We deliver to new customers every day,” Russell said. “It has more than met our initial expectations, and we expect it to increase even more.” Membership in the OPA and the subsequent up-tick in business have added some opportunities for Russell.

David Russell Parts Department Manager Jackson Acura

Demand has dictated some expansion to the variety and depth of the inventory stocked. “We’ve had to make an inventory customization,” he explained. “This has been in terms of the type of parts we carry. We now carry more body parts and are adding additional parts numbers every day.”■

NACE and CARS Launch New Cutting-Edge Event Websites Cutting-edge NACE and CARS websites have been launched achieving a new level of innovation within the trade show industry, thereby setting the standard in which to follow. The redesigned websites were successfully launched for the upcoming International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE – www. and the Congress of Automotive Repair & Service (CARS – The websites significantly streamline the broadcast of event information, registration and housing, promote industry networking and much more. These industry events, 26

Southern Automotive Journal

sponsored by Automotive Service Association (ASA), are co-located at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 4-7 and take place during the second annual Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW). “The integration of all event systems come together in our new website redesign,” said Lindsay Roberts, director, Hanley Wood Exhibitions. “The sites create an intelligent, one-stop shop for attendees and exhibitors, allowing them to find all the information they seek and easily make all event arrangements June 2009

online.” The website redesign is truly cutting-edge within the trade show community and is designed for no-nonsense navigation. “It is our hope that both sites become a 24/7/365 online reality and trusted resource within the automotive service and repair community by providing timely event updates, RSS feeds from online industry publications and tools for driving positive networking among industry professionals,” continued Roberts. For more details visit www.,■

Insurer and Industry Professionals Elected to CAPA’s Technical Committee in Virginia. Keith has been an The Certified TBill Brower, Liberty Mutual Insurance ICAR trainer completing over Automotive Parts Association Alan Bush, USAA 6,000 student units and superannounces that Joe Lacy of vised the redevelopment of the Toby Chess, Holmes Body Shop GEICO and Keith Manich of auto training group at Allstate’s KEIMAN Business Consultants Mike Chiu, Pro Fortune Tech-Cor research facility. While have been elected to CAPA’s Ed Eaton, Keystone-LKQ at Tech-Cor, Keith representTechnical Committee. Rod Enlow, RENLOW Auto Technical Consulting, Inc. (Chairman) ed Allstate on the Technical CAPA’s Technical Committee for two years. Keith Committee monitors and Scot Hansen, Collision Parts Network left Allstate in 2001 to work updates the standards governCharlie Hogarty, Superior Collision Parts for Entela, (now Intertek) as a ing CAPA’s Quality standards. Steve Huang, TYG Products Business Development manag“We are thrilled to have profesJackson Kwok, Genera/TYC Brother er prior to establishing KEIMAN sionals like Lacy and Manich Business Consultants. He has join the amazingly talented Joe Lacy, GEICO been a guest speaker at NACE group of industry experts that Keith Manich, KEIMAN Consulting on several occasions. make up CAPA’s TC,” said Jack Dave McCreight, Collision Resources Inc. “CAPA is fortunate to have Gillis, Executive Director of the Ron Nagy, Nagy’s Collision Center such a broad range of industry Certified Automotive Parts expertise represented on our Association. Edward Salamy, KSI Trading Corporation Technical Committee,” stated Joe Lacy is currently the Nick Scheid, API/Cornerstone Jack Gillis, Executive Director Director of Claims at GEICO’s Mike Schoonover, Schoonover Bodyworks, Inc. (Vice-Chair) of the non-profit association. home office in Washington, Jeanne Silver, CARSTAR “Their insight into issues facing DC. He is responsible for the the repair parts industry and Auto Damage Performance Bob Smith, Storm Appraisal & Management Service, Inc. guidance with the program are Review audit staff of 20 and extremely important to CAPA’s monitors the performance of continuing success.” all auto damage associates at GEICO. Joe and the I-CAR Education Foundation. The CAPA Technical Committee is is also responsible for helping develop He has been attending CAPA Technical comprised of a cross-section of indusauto damage claims handling policy. He Committee meetings as an industry tries involved in collision repair and has been with GEICO for 37 years and observer for over 4 years. includes manufacturers, distributors, has held positions from Auto Damage Keith Manich has been in the colinsurers, collision repairers, and general Adjustor to Director of Claims Efficiency. lision repair industry since 1978. He interest groups. The TC develops and Joe attended Mercer University in Macon, spent 10 years as a line technician, shop maintains the CAPA Quality Standards, Georgia where he received a degree in manager and director of operations reviewing and refining them as necesBusiness Administration. His affiliations before being hired by Allstate Insurance sary. n include the “Write it Right Committee” Company in 1988 to work field claims

Auto Dealers Are Urging Congress to Intervene with the Obama Administration to Oppose Drastic Dealer Cuts More than 100 new-car dealers will meet face-to-face today with select members of the House and Senate to ask them to urge President Obama’s auto task force to slow down plans to rapidly reduce General Motors and Chrysler’s dealer networks. “A rapid cut of dealers is a bad idea,” says John McEleney, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, the trade group that organized the dealer fly-in. “This would have

adverse effects on the auto industry and hurt an already struggling U.S. economy. “It will result in another 200,000 Americans losing their jobs,” McEleney added. “State and local governments will lose millions of dollars in auto sales tax revenue that is essential for economic recovery. “We’re not arguing against dealer consolidation,” McEleney says. “Our concern is with the accelerated timeJune 2009

frame. Keep in mind that dealers are not a cost center for their manufacturers. Dealers are an automaker’s main source of revenue. “Cutting dealers at this time would do absolutely nothing to make either GM or Chrysler more viable,” McEleney says. National Automobile Dealers Association leaders also met with the President’s auto task force on Thursday, May 14, in Washington, D.C.n Southern Automotive Journal


Consumer Reports Survey Reveals Higher Satisfaction With Independent Auto Mechanics

84 percent of owners very satisfied with independent maintenance versus 77 percent at dealership; Six domestic automakers ranked among top ten in dealership customer service Some 84 percent of car owners reported being very satisfied with maintenance performed at independent shops compared with 77 percent at dealerships, according to a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey involving 349,000 vehicles owned by Consumer Reports subscribers. But they were more satisfied with the dealer service of some car brands than of others.


Southern Automotive Journal

Among the top scoring in dealership maintenance satisfaction were Lexus, Buick, and Acura, with 85, 83 and 82 percent satisfaction rates, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, Volkswagen, Suzuki, Jeep, and Nissan owners were far less satisfied with dealer service at 67, 69, 70, and 70 percent respectively. Among owners whose cars needed repairs as well as maintenance, the difference in satisfaction with dealers and independent shops was even more pronounced: 75 percent were very satisfied with independents versus just 57 percent

June 2009

with dealerships. Despite the turmoil surrounding the American auto industry, six American automakers (Buick, Saturn, Mercury, Cadillac, Lincoln and Oldsmobile) ranked among the top ten in terms of customer satisfaction with dealership maintenance. "In many cases, we heard that independent shops were more thorough and consumers were more satisfied with repairs they made, there was less of a difference in routine service," said David Champion, senior director, Consumer Reports Auto Test Center.n

Shop Licensing Bill Introduced In North Carolina

Representatives in the North Carolina House of Representatives have introduced House Bill 1285, the Motor Vehicle Repair Shops and Collision Repairs Licensure Act. H.B. 1285 has been assigned to the House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Entrepreneurship. If the bill is favored, it will be referred to the Finance Committee. This act would establish licensing requirements for certain motor vehicle repair shops, collision repair estimators and collision repair technicians. Specifically, repair shops, estimators

and technicians would be required to obtain a license to work on a vehicle. The General Assembly has declared the purpose of H.B. 1285 is: "To protect the safety and welfare of the people of North Carolina against unqualified motor vehicle repair shops, collision repair estimators and collision repair technicians or improper motor vehicle or collision repair, it is necessary to provide for the licensing and regulation of certain motor vehicle repair shops, collision repair estimators and collision repair technicians." The Automotive Service

Association (ASA) supports shop licensing and technical certification regulations that include but are not limited to proper training; compliance with federal, state and local regulations; certification of technicians; minimum level of insurance; and minimum level of equipment standards for automotive shops. ASA will work with the legislature to ensure the legislation addresses equipment and training concerns. To view North Carolina H.B. 1285, visit Automotive Servce Association's legislative Web site at www.

ships closed in the U.S. in 2008. With more closures expected in 2009, a growing number of consumers will service their vehicles at an independent repair facility. In such a situation, it becomes imperative for repair shops to get access to the required technical information and tools. 2. Savings for the Growing Base of Price-Conscious Consumers As consumers keep their vehicles longer, there is an increasing number of older vehicles in total vehicle parc. Between 2008 and 2015, the percentage of vehicles that are 8 years of age or older is expected to increase from 51.9% in 2008 to 57.2% in 2015. This has a direct effect on repair and maintenance required to keep the vehicle running. In many cases, independent repair shops are unable to service the vehicle due to a lack of information and tools. This leaves consumers with the costly and inconvenient option of approaching a dealership. According to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, on an average, vehicle repairs at new car dealerships cost 34% more than at independent repair shops, resulting in $11.7 billion in excess costs annually to consumers. In a tough economic environment, the Right to Repair Act will be instrumental in equipping independent repair shops with the right information and tools to service the consumer. 3. Fills Void Created by Lack of Skilled Technicians Frost & Sullivan estimates that the number of active technicians between 2005 and 2009 declined by over 50,000

in North America. While dealerships employ 14.1 technicians on average, over 90% of independent repair shops have an average of 4.4 technicians. With every dealership closing, the pressure on availability of skilled technicians increases. The Right to Repair Act addresses the issue by ensuring that repair shops have access to all pertinent information and equipment through which they can provide the same kind of quality service to a consumer that a dealership can offer. Conclusion The debate on passage of the Right to Repair Act continues. Auto manufacturers argue that the Right to Repair act will result in sharing of proprietary information that will impact vehicle security systems. Also, with the Obama administration showing support for the "cash for clunkers" program, demand for maintenance and service for old cars will reduce. While the "cash for clunkers" program aims to boost new vehicle sales as well as promote a greener environment, in reality it is simply a tool to stimulate the economy by incentivizing customers to buy new vehicles. The Right to Repair Act, on the other hand, is a much more sustainable solution that addresses the concerns of multiple groups -- cash-struck consumers who want a more affordable service option, consumers who cannot buy a new and more efficient vehicle even when they get government vouchers as part of the "cash for clunkers" program, and independent repair shops that are currently struggling with repairs of technologysavvy cars.n

Economic Recession Lends Momentum to Right to Repair Act The following was written by Ratika Garg, Research Analyst, Frost & Sullivan Automotive Practice: Typically vehicles that are model year 1994 or newer are more complex than older vehicles due to increased use of electronics and computerized systems. In order to service and repair these vehicles, independent repair shops require highly skilled technicians and an increased amount of technical information and software tools. While the same is made available by auto manufacturers to their dealerships, independent repair shops are left in the lurch, struggling with repair work. The Right to Repair Act, introduced in 2005, calls for regulations requiring auto manufacturers to share all service information and tools with the independent service industry, so that there is a level playing field between dealers and independent repair shops. After the warranty has expired, the dealership option results in more costs and inconvenience to the vehicle owner. The Act, if passed, will give vehicle owners the flexibility of choosing a repair shop over dealers for their vehicle's service needs. In a challenging economic environment, the Right to Repair Act will be instrumental in addressing many issues that the repair industry faces today. 1. Viable Alternative To Rapidly Closing Dealerships The Right to Repair Act gains much more significance with an increasing number of dealerships closing because of the economic crisis. According to Automotive News, nearly 1,008 dealer-

June 2009

Southern Automotive Journal


Mercedes-Benz USA Announced as Newest SCRS Corporate Member The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) is pleased to announce that Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), long recognized for its line of high-end, luxury vehicles, has stepped forward to become the Society's newest corporate member. MBUSA's interest in becoming a SCRS corporate member was heightened at NACE 2009 during informal conversations with a number of SCRS members, notably SCRS Chairman Gary Wano and Joe Skurka, Manager, OEM & Industry Relations at BASF Corporation, itself a SCRS corporate member. "SCRS attracted our attention because they hold the same expansive view of the industry that we do," says Stephen Langelotti, department manager of after sales business development for MBUSA. "We consider our customer

base to be not only the vehicle owner, but the different sectors that make up the collision industry-repairers, insurers, suppliers, and any other related trade. SCRS has a track record of working together with all industry segments to form a consensus and create positive outcomes. By participating as a corporate member, we hope to gain a keener understanding of the market and the issues facing it. This will help us better address the needs of our mutual customers." Wano has witnessed first-hand, as a member of the collision repair advisory board of MBUSA, the advantages of working closely with a vehicle manufacturer. "MBUSA's support of SCRS will reap any number of benefits for our members, especially in regard to the repair and servicing of Mercedes-Benz vehicles," he says. "The valuable insight they bring

to the table regarding safe and efficient repair procedures will contribute to the expertise of SCRS professionals with the ultimate beneficiary being the vehicle owner. We appreciate this opportunity, as we move forward to prove again that 'Working Together Is the Most Important Work We Do'." The SCRS Corporate Membership Program, founded in 1993, partners SCRS and key corporations serving the collision industry that have an interest in expanding the services of the Society in order to improve the industry. Only corporate members can advertise on the SCRS Web site, on which they are listed, including a link to their own company's Web site. The company name of corporate members appears on the SCRS letterhead and they participate in quarterly member mailings.â–

HR 2057 From Page 21

ented and small business groups support passage of The Right to Repair Act, among them: American Automobile Association (AAA), National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), RetireSafe (represents 400,000 seniors nationwide), Tire Industry Association (TIA), National Grange and 60s Plus

Seniors. The Right to Repair Act, HR 2057, is in the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. Information on the legislation can be found on:â–

clearly showed that repairs conducted at new car dealerships cost consumers on average 34 percent more than at the independent repair shops, resulting in $11.7 Billion in excess costs annually. Los Angeles consumers pay as much as 46.8 percent more at new car dealerships for repairs. The Right to Repair Act will help all of America's motoring consumers. Aaron Lowe, Vice President, Government Affairs for AAIA, stated, "With dealerships closing at unprecedented rates, the ability for consumers to obtain convenient and affordable repairs from their local independent vehicle repair shops is more important than ever. Right to Repair ensures that independent shops have access to the most up-to-date information, tools and software so that they can continue to maintain and repair their customers' late model vehicles." Pohlman concluded, "Five million people in the United States work in the automotive aftermarket (independent repair industry) in over 495,000 locations nationwide, including 'mom and pop' shops. The aftermarket is a large segment of the nation's economy and for more than 100 years has helped consumers find affordable and efficient ways to repair their vehicles." A broad coalition of consumer ori30

Southern Automotive Journal

Volume 13 Issue No. 6 Southern Automotive Journal P.O. Box 675097 Marietta, Ga 30006-0009 (770) 321-9920 E-Mail

Jim Tucker Publisher Michele Tucker Editor

Contributors Dennis Martin Ami Vonesh Joyce Ethridge Russ Heaps

Southern Automotive Journal (ISSN: 1092-6321) is published monthly by Southern Automotive Journal Inc. P.O. Box 675097, Marietta, Ga 30006-0009.SAJ accepts no responsibility for the opinions, views statements of the authors or for claims made by advertisers. Views expressed by writers are not necessarily those of the publication. Subscription: $12.00 per year. No representation is made as to the accuracy or the completeness of the information provided by this publication. Entire contents copyright 2009. All rights reserved. June 2009

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Southern Automotive Journal  
Southern Automotive Journal  

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