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February 2012

Support for OEM-Based Repair Standards Grows SCRS Responds to Insurer Involvement in Setting Rates Audatex’s Helps Improve Customer Satisfaction House Judiciary Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Antitrust Enforcement Agencies

DEALER NEWS Chrysler Foundation Announces $50,000 Grant to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Ford Motor Company Fund Awards $50,000 to American Indian College Fund Volkswagen Donation $100,000 Towards Global Disaster Relief Efforts

Dodge Hits the Mark With the All-new 2013 Dodge Dart Dodge redefines performance in the compact car segment with an all-new, stateof-the-art four-door sedan delivering classleading aerodynamics – the 2013 Dodge Dart. With Alfa Romeo DNA and Dodge’s passion for performance at its core, the allnew 2013 Dodge Dart is a thoroughly modern vehicle that’s fuel-efficient, beautifully designed and crafted, agile and brings fun

back to driving in the segment. Similar to the Dodge Dart of the late 1960s, the 2013 Dart offers a special blend of style, performance and innovation. The Dodge brand leveraged its nearly 100-year history of passion for building high-quality, innovative vehiDodge Dart Please Turn to Page 4

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Dodge Dart From Front Cover

ciency and fluidity of movement. Eye-catching exterior proportions are set off from every angle by dynamic lines and curves, along with advanced technology, to deliver class-leading aerodynamic performance. The personality-packed front view is instantly recognizable as an all-new Dodge with its tailored split-crosshair grille, projector headlamps and fog lamps and accentuated fenders. Signature Dodge

state-of-the-art four-cylinder engines that add to Dart’s fun-to-drive quotient. Drivers can select from a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.0-liter engine, a 16valve 1.4-liter MultiAir Intercooled Turbo engine, and a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.4-liter MultiAir four cylinder engine. These three engines, combined with three transmission choices, combine to redefine performance by providing the most diverse powertrain lineup in its

cles that stand apart in performance and style, as well as from its partner Fiat’s global compact car expertise, to develop the all-new Dodge Dart. The all-new Dart is the first Chrysler Group vehicle based upon a Fiat architecture – adapted from the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The Giulietta is renowned for satisfying the most demanding customers in terms of road-holding, agility and safety, with exceptional driving dynamics. The Dart leverages all of these attributes within a lengthened and widened platform delivering segment-leading levels of interior roominess. The all-new Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) architecture underpinning the Dart is a state-of-theart architecture with an industryleading 68 percent of the body composed of high-strength steel, resulting in a very strong and rigid structure. Combined with responsive steering, four-wheel indepenBuilt on a world-class architecture, Dodge Dart offers three technologident suspension, cally advanced, fuel-efficient and powerful engines. and available 18-inch

wheels, the Dart brings fun back to driving in the compact car segment. The all-new 2013 Dart marks the Dodge brand’s re-entry into the compact sedan segment, hitting the bullseye with a modern, unmistakable Dodge design that builds upon its performance heritage while evoking emotion, effi

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full-width LED ‘racetrack’ tail lamps and class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust – both inspired by Dodge Charger – accentuate the athletic and muscular stance of this dynamic and passionate new design. The 2013 Dodge Dart will be powered by three fuel-efficient, powerful, February 2012


MultiAir technology delivers optimum combustion at any speed under all driving conditions by allowing direct and dynamic control of air intake and combustion. The result is up to a 15 percent increase in low engine rpm torque, a 7.5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency and a 10 percent reduction in C02 emissions. Dodge designers focused on creating a modern blend of precision craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology, exciting bursts of color and handsculpted shapes when designing the Dart’s interior, which is made with materials and technology typically found in more expensive vehicle segments. Starting with modern Dodge DNA and through the use of innovative ambient interior lighting, high-quality soft-touch materials and high-tech features, the 2013 Dodge Dart is loaded with cool amenities and unexpected delights for both drivers and passengers. The Dart’s “driver-centric” layout is designed to put all controls within

easy reach of the driver. Customizable displays and comfort-tuned seats are packaged in an exceptionally spacious, pleasing interior. Packaged in the footprint of a compact car, the 2013 Dodge Dart features the interior spaciousness of a mid-sized sedan, and it boasts best-in-class hip and shoulder room. Customization was key in the allnew Dodge Dart’s development, and with 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim combinations, six wheel options, three engine options and three transmissions, each Dodge Dart can be personalized by every buyer to fit their individual style. And the combinations are multiplied exponentially, as Mopar will also offer hundreds of customization options and themed packages specifically developed for the Dart. The high-tech centerpiece of the allnew 2013 Dodge Dart is the class-exclusive floating island bezel, which houses the segment-exclusive available 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) customizable gauge cluster display with light pipe surround that also houses the available class-exclusive UConnect Touch 8.4-inch touchscreen multimedia center -- the largest touch-screen in its class. Thoughtful storage options throughout fit today’s technology. The glove box easily conceals a stowed iPad; the center console features auxiliary jacks to plug in a wide variety of electronic devices, and thoughtful, inventive storage solutions, such as console map pockets, which are perfect for

ing mobile phones, receipts, or pen and paper. Lighting in all the right places provides drivers and passengers a warm,

map pockets, foot wells, glove box, storage bin and illuminated cup holders is both useful and provides a warm atmosphere inside the vehicle. Safety was also at the forefront in the development of the allnew 2013 Dodge Dart. Built on a strong foundation, constructed with 68 percent high-strength steel, engineers added both active and passive safety features, including 10 standard airbags, which is unsurpassed in the segment. The

High-tech features include class-exclusive customizable 7-inch gauge cluster, 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen, heated steering wheel and illuminated floating island bezel.

comfortable cockpit. Available “racetrack” lighting surrounds the floating island bezel. Ambient lighting for the door handles, February 2012

2013 Dodge Dart is also the only car in its class to offer blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection. The all-new Dodge Dart will be made in America at Chrysler Group’s Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Ill. The Company is in the process of investing $600 million dollars to support the production of future products, including the 2013 Dodge Dart. The investment includes the construction of a 638,000-square-foot body shop, as well as the installation of new machinery, tooling and material handling equipment. Work on the expansion began in the summer of 2010 and will be completed this year.n Southern Automotive Journal

Chrysler Foundation Announces $50,000 Grant to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund The Chrysler Foundation has announced that it will provide a $50,000 grant to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the nation’s largest provider of college financial aid for Latino students. The grant, which will support Hispanic students that pursue a course of study that focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, also continues a longstanding relationship between The Chrysler Foundation and the HSF which

began in 1986. Since that time, HSF has received 25 grants from the Foundation totaling more than $750,000. “The future of our country, indeed, the future of Chrysler Group, more and more demands that we take an active role in supporting the development of highly motivated, highly trained technical leaders with diverse backgrounds,” Diaz said.”Chrysler is committed to ensuring that a diverse group of leaders drive the next era of

innovation which fuels the country’s economic growth.” In March 2011, the editors of DiversityInc magazine named Chrysler Group to the magazine’s 2011 list of “Top 50 Companies for Diversity.” This coveted annual benchmark is comprised of companies the magazine’s editors believe are diversity-management leaders. This was the fifth year since the list was established in 2001 that Chrysler has been included.n

Ford Motor Company Fund Awards $50,000 to American Indian College Fund Ford Motor Company Fund has granted $50,000 to The American Indian College Fund for the Ford Motor Company Blue Oval Scholars Program for the 2011-12 academic year for Native American students attending tribal colleges and mainstream universities. The scholarship is available to Native students at a tribal college pursuing a degree in math, science, engineering, business, teacher training, or environmental science. Native mainstream

university students are eligible if they are studying accounting, computer science, engineering, finance, marketing, or operations management. All applicants must have a 3.0 grade point average. “At Ford, we understand that the strength of our country relies on the quality of its future leaders and the education they receive,” said Mike Schmidt of the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “We are honored to be working with the American Indian College Fund to provide Ford Blue Oval Scholarships that support

Native American students in their pursuit of higher education.” “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Ford Motor Company Fund for the betterment of Native people and Indian Country,” said Richard B. Williams, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund. “Ford Motor Company Fund’s philanthropic support of higher education in Indian Country is helping to change the lives of not just our students, but their families and communities by providing the hope of a college education. American Indian people are some of the poorest in the nation, and without the support of partners like Ford Motor Company Fund, they might not otherwise be able to afford to pursue their education goals.”n

Volkswagen Announces $100,000 Donation Towards Global Disaster Relief Efforts

Volkswagen Group of America recently announced that, through the Volkswagen of America Foundation, has donated $50,000 each to AmeriCares and Doctors Without Borders to assist with global disaster relief efforts. AmeriCares and Doctors Without Borders both provide medical assistance and disaster relief to countries around the world. “Corporate social responsibility is deeply embedded in our culture at Volkswagen Group of America,” said Tony Cervone, executive vice president, communications, Volkswagen Group of America. “Through the efforts of AmeriCares and Doctors Without Borders, two exemplary humanitarian organizations, it is our goal to give victims of natural disasters greater access to medical supplies, healthcare programs and other valuable resources as they rebuild their lives and communities. It seems especially urgent and fitting at this time of year.”n 

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February 2012

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Volkswagen Chattanooga Earns LEED Platinum Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant has received a platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program. The facility is the first and only automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the Platinum certification. Platinum certification recognizes the highest level of performance. “Because Volkswagen has a longstanding, worldwide commitment to sustainable mobility and environmentally responsible manufacturing, we are proud to have achieved the LEED Platinum certification at our Chattanooga manufacturing facility,” said Hubert Waltl, member of the board of management of Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand for production and logistics. “Volkswagen Chattanooga’s LEED Platinum certification is the fulfillment of a promise that Volkswagen has made around the world and in this community that we will work in harmony with the environment,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga. Our commitment to building a LEED certified factory began in the planning and design stages,” Fischer said, “I believe that this not only helped insure that we would achieve Platinum status, but was actually a very cost effective way to implement environmentally responsible building methods,” he said. The ultra-clean paint shop alone will save 50 million gallons of water in ten years.

“Volkswagen is clearly committed to the US market,” said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “During the worst recession in the past century we never wavered with our investment of a billion dollars to create this world class facility. This certification underscores Volkswagen’s commitment to engineering excellence.” LEED certification is an internationally-recognized green building certification system developed by the USGBC in March of 2000. LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance. Aspects of the plant that earned LEED recognition include: -- Plant was built on a brownfield property with no destruction of untouched nature. Protected 100 ft. wide creeks and wetlands were established to create natural habitats with low impact on natural habitats. -- Low-flow water fixtures and no-touch sensors throughout the plant reduce water usage by 30%. -- Natural flowing creeks to capture heavy rains and restore a natural habitat

Jim Tucker Publisher Michele Tucker Editor

Southern Automotive Journal,Inc. P.O. Box 675097 Marietta, Ga 30006-0009 (770) 321-9920 E-Mail Volume 16 Issue No. 2

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-- White roof membrane is highly reflective, minimizing heat island effect by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. -- Rainwater collected and reused to flush toilets and cool the welding machines -- Use of LED lighting on the exterior results in 68% less energy used, up to 262,500 kWh per year and a reduction in light pollution. -- Green power from the local hydroelectric dam -- Superior insulation provided by six inches of mineral rock wool, resulting in 720,000 Kilowatts per year savings. The Volkswagen Academy was also certified by USGBA as a Platinum LEED facility. The primary purpose of the Volkswagen Academy is to prepare new employees for work at the Volkswagen plant. In conjunction with Chattanooga State and Tennessee Tech, the Academy also offers an Industrial Technology degree and an apprenticeship program. “We are very pleased that the Volkswagen Academy has been Platinum LEED certified, because this reflects the level of excellence that we expect and produce in the academy,” said HansHerbert Jagla, EVP of Human Resources. “Building operations are nearly 40% of the solution to the global climate change challenge,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “While climate change is a global problem, innovative companies like Volkswagen Chattanooga are addressing it through local solutions.”n

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 2011. All rights reserved.

February 2012







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Right to Repair Advances in Massachusetts: Certified Voter Signatures Approved by Secretary of State The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition has announced that it has received an official letter from the Secretary of State’s office confirming that 83,180 signatures have been approved from every region of the state, far more than the 68,000 signatures required. This action moves the Right to Repair question toward the state’s 2012 ballot. “The number of signatures gathered in support of the ballot measure demonstrates that Massachusetts car owners value their ability to control where their vehicle is serviced, whether it is at a dealership or one of the thousands of independent repair shops in the Commonwealth,” said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). “We feel confident that next November, Massachusetts citizens will vote strongly in favor of the Right to Repair measure.”

The Massachusetts Right to Repair voter initiative would, for the first time, allow consumers to access all of the nonproprietary repair information required to have their vehicles repaired where they choose, at a new car dealership or an independent shop. The proposed law would require that car companies provide independent shops with access to their diagnostic software through a standardized vehicle interface and utilizing a generic lap top, thus leveling the playing field between the big car manufacturers’ dealerships and independent, neighborhood repair facilities. If enacted, the ballot measure will permit all independent shops to obtain affordable just-in-time access to the latest non-proprietary automobile diagnostic and repair information that is currently available to the manufacturers’ dealers and their new car dealerships.

The Right to Repair Act was introduced in Massachusetts for the 2011-12 legislative session by Rep. Garrett Bradley (D-Hingham) and Sen. John Hart (DSouth Boston) and has over 60 co-sponsors. The legislature is expected to hold a committee hearing on the ballot petition in February and has until May 1 to act, whereby they can preclude the need for a ballot measure by enacting the Right to Repair Act. “We are hopeful that Massachusetts lawmakers will pass Right to Repair legislation in the coming months, but if they do not act, Massachusetts voters will have the last word thus ending the battle that has pitted the large vehicle manufacturers against the state’s consumers and the independent aftermarket,” said Sandy Bass-Cors, executive director of the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE).n

AAIA Green Snapshot Highlights Aftermarket's Environmental Efforts Toward a Cleaner Environment: The Automotive Aftermarket's Green Story." The snapshot lists many items recycled by automotive aftermarket companies, and the raw materials and energy saved by these efforts. Automotive aftermarket companies recycle used engine oil and oil filters, tires, batteries, parts cleaning solvents, scrap metal, wood pallets, cardboard and paper, plastics and a/ c refrigerant. It also highlights the yearly raw materials saved by the manufacture, distribution and use of remanufactured automotive parts, and the positive impact that regular maintenance 678.802.5000 has on the enviToll Free ronment. 800.522.2345 "The wideFax spread environ678.802.5018 mental practices of automotive aftermarket companies have been going on for decades," 11875 Alpharetta Highway • Roswell, GA 30076 said Kathleen

A new Green Snapshot, developed by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), is a brief synopsis of green statistics that reflect the positive impact of the industry's widespread efforts on behalf of the environment. The Green Snapshot is a half-page card, printed on FSC-certified cardstock with soy-based ink, designed to create greater awareness of the industry's extensive contributions to a cleaner environment and is part of AAIA's initiative, "Driving

Ferrari Maserati of Atlanta


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February 2012

Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. "These companies are clearly committed to having a minimal impact on the health of the ecosystem, and a positive impact on society and the planet." The Green Snapshot is being distributed at automotive aftermarket meetings, events and trade shows. It also is used extensively in AAIA's lobbying efforts in the nation's capital and in state capitals. In addition to the Green Snapshot, AAIA is telling the automotive aftermarket's green story with a short AAIA Green video and a portfolio, available online and in printed format, that summarizes company practices already in place in recycling, remanufacturing and operations. The green story is being told by AAIA representatives at meetings and events, and as well as on blogs and through an aggressive public relations campaign to the industry and consumers. Companies that would like to share their green story or help tell the aftermarket's green story should contact AAIA's Rich White at rich.white@aftermarket. org, or call 301-654-6664, ext. 1030. For more information, visit www.aftermarket. org/green.n

All-New 1967 Mustang Convertible Body Joins Growing Stable of Classic Ford-Licensed Restoration Parts T h e latest addiThe 1967 convertible body shell, is now tion to the available to order starting at $15,995. growing stable of classic Mustang bodies – the 1967 convertible – just might be the ultimate stocking stuffer this Christmas for restorers garages, barns and scrapyards have of America’s been picked clean.” favorite sports car. Now, Mustang fans dreaming of The 1967 convertible body shell, restoring a classic ’67 convertible – or the newest officially licensed Ford building one with a modern powertrain Restoration part, is now available to – won’t have to spend time and money order starting at $15,995. It is the fourth getting an original ’67 convertible body reproduction classic Mustang body into restorable condition. That expenavailable to restorers, joining the ’65 convertible, the ’67 fastback and the ’69 fastback. To qualify as an official Fordlicensed restoration part, the ’67 body shell has to meet or exceed the fit, finish and quality of the original, said Dennis Mondrach, Ford Restoration Parts licensing manager. “The new ’67 convertible body shell gives restorers a super-solid foundation on which to build their dream pony car.” Dynacorn International, manufacturer of the ’67 convertible body, worked to not only replicate the original ’67 convertible, but make it better. The body panels, for example, are stamped from modern automotive-grade virgin steel that is slightly thicker than the original, according to Jim Christina, Dynacorn general manager. Then, to further add strength, the panels are assembled using modern welding techniques. There are also newly engineered reinforcements in known stress areas to add strength and rigidity to the body, added Christina. “These days, the chances are fairly slim of finding a restorable, rust-free ’67 Mustang that has never been wrecked,” said Mondrach. “As the value of classic Mustangs has increased over the years,

February 2012

sive, timeconsuming step can be skipped by starting with the new ’67 conver tible body. “Some minor panel adjustment and alignment still has to be done, but the body comes rustproofed and primed and is otherwise ready for painting and assembly,” said Mondrach. More information about the ’67 body shell and all other Ford-licensed restoration parts can be found at www.fordrestora1967 Mustang Please Turn to Page 21

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The 2012 SRX Honors Cadillac's Legacy of Elegance The Cadillac legacy of elegance continues with the 2012 SRX. The Cadillac SRX enters 2012 with a greater combination of performance, technology and capability, building on the momentum of record-setting sales and more conquests from import owners in the mid-luxury crossover segment. The SRX’s exterior features a multipiece shield grille and Cadillac’s iconic vertical headlamps, with light pipe technology and available adaptive forward lighting technology that turns the lamps in the direction of the front wheels. The SRX has a wide stance, minimal overhangs and wheels pushed to corners. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard on the Base and Luxury Collection and 20inch wheels are standard on Performance and Premium Collections. A new, more powerful 3.6L V-6 headlines the changes for 2012 and becomes the sole engine offered in the SRX. It is rated at 308 horsepower (230 kW) with efficiency-enhancing features including direct injection and continuously variable valve timing. It also delivers 265 lb.-ft. of torque (359 Nm), with peak torque achieved at a low 2,400 rpm and continuing through 5,300 rpm, giving the SRX a greater feeling of acceleration from a standstill, at low speeds and when passing. The 3.6L is also E85 ethanolcapable. A new, larger and more powerful 3.6L

The SRX’s exterior features Cadillac’s iconic vertical headlamps, with light pipe technology and adaptive forward lighting technology that turns the lamps in the direction of the front wheels.

ed V-6 – known by its “LFX” engine code – is the new and sole engine for the SRX. It delivers an SAE-certified 308 horsepower (230 kW) and 265 lb.-ft. of torque (359 Nm). The LFX is a 60degree design, with the cylinder block and cylinder heads cast in aluminum for low weight. A forged steel crankshaft provides optimal strength in the bottom end, while the cylinder heads include four valves per cylinder, with a dual overhead camshaft design incorporating infinitely variable cam phasing. Additionally, optimizedflow fuel injectors and the integrated exhaust manifolds/ cylinder heads promote lower emissions. The LFX’s composite intake manifold also has a comparatively small radiated surface area to help it maintain excellent noise and vibration characteristics. The Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission is matched with the LFX engine and features the driver-selectable Eco feature for enhanced fuel economy. The available all-wheeldrive system incorporates an electronic limited-slip rear differential, which not only improves traction in slippery road conditions but provides side-to-side torque transfer along the rear axle to enhance control during hard cornering. The 3.6L is matched with the Hydra-Matic 6T70 SRX Please Turn to Page 22

February 2012

Southern Automotive Journal


Consumer Reports: Forty Percent of Drivers Increasing Safety Risk by Delaying Automotive Maintenance Drivers favor independent shops over dealers or national chains for repairs Cash-strapped consumers are delaying automotive maintenance at the potential cost of their safety. Forty percent of respondents to a recent Consumer Reports poll who are involved in repair decisions stated that they are postponing car maintenance or repairs on their primary vehicle. This delay in servicing items such as brakes, tires, light bulbs, or other internal mechanical parts has consumers running the risk of larger, more costly problems down the road. Forty-four percent of those who deferred work in the past year also admitted that they felt the value, safety, or reliability of the vehicle would suffer, with some saying the car was becoming an embarrassment. The failure to have small problems promptly repaired or regular maintenance performed on schedule can lead to larger, more costly problems down the road. Those in lower-income households were more likely to delay necessary work, and the youngest drivers, aged 18 to 34 years, were more likely to delay work on wear items, such as brake pads or tires. Twenty-one percent of this age group admitted to not attend-

ing to a wear item in a timely fashion, compared to 14 percent of those aged 55 or over. Compounding the issue is the fact that, with the economy being so poor, drivers found themselves holding onto their vehicles longer. Many of the respondents bought their cars used, and have owned them for five years with the intent to hold on to that vehicle for another five. Survey results showed that older drivers, residents of western states, and lowerincome owners go the longest before replacing their vehicles. “The family car is the second largest purchase a consumer can make. It’s also often one of the most abused,” said Jeff Bartlett, deputy online automotive editor, Consumer Reports. “We expect our car to work even in the harshest conditions. So protecting that investment should be a priority, especially when it becomes a safety issue.” On average, owners have 78,000 miles on their current vehicle, meaning many are quickly approaching major maintenance milestones that shouldn’t be ignored. Among those surveyed, the types of non-warranty work most commonly

postponed were led by minor manufacturer-recommended scheduled service (22 percent); wear items (17 percent); and body or other exterior damage (15 percent). Interviewees stated that a major repair bill, costing an average of about $2,000, would become a serious financial burden. Lower-income households ($1,418 average), women ($1,601), and younger adults ($1,749) were shown to be most vulnerable. This means that a major repair bill could be 2.4 times the size of what respondents actually spent on maintenance and repairs over the past year before it would become a serious financial burden across the demographic groups. Car Owners Put Faith in Independent Repair Shops Contrary to popular belief, car owners put a lot of faith in their chosen repair shops, with 83 percent of those involved in repair decisions saying they were confident they would get the right maintenance and repair work done for the right price. In addition, more than half said they completely trust their shop. Consumer Reports Turn to Page 34

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NADA Convention Speaker, Sean V. Bradley, CEO of Dealer Synergy will be at NADA 2012 in Las Vegas Nada Convention Speaker for the last 3 consecutive years, CEO of Dealer Synergy Sean V. Bradley will be at NADA 2012 in Las Vegas AGAIN this year! Exhibiting at Booth #3312 In addition to being a top rated NADA convention speaker, Sean V. Bradley has spoken to 70+ NADA & NCM 20 Groups, as well as been a subject matter expert, general assembly or key note speaker for AAISP, Digital Dealer Conference, JD Power Internet Round Table and more. Sean V. Bradley and part of the executive team at Dealer Synergy will be at booth #3312 in full force. Dealer Synergy will be giving away a FREE $20,000 Training, Consulting and Digital Marketing Package. The package

includes: • Needs Analysis • Digital Marketing Plan • Focus Sites / Micro Sites • Social Media •Online Reputation Management Solution •SearchEngine Optimization • Video Search Engine Optimization • Reporting / Analytics •30 Days of Monthly Support • Mystery Shopping • Call Monitoring • Report Cards / Coaching • Phone Coaching • Phone Training • Phone, email and Social Media Support

• SWOT Analysis • Goal planning, projecting, forecasting •Onsite Training & Consulting •Lead Source Provider R.O.I. Sean V. Bradley is quoted as saying “It is an honor to be voted one of the Best of the Best Companies at NADA 2012 by AutoSuccess Magazine. I have been one of the top rated NADA Convention speakers for the last 3 consecutive years and now this AutoSuccess honor... Wow. I can NOT wait for NADA this year. Its going to be an amazing show”! For more information on Dealer Synergy or to set up an appointment to meet with Sean V. Bradley at NADA 2012 in Las Vegas, please contact: Shondalynn at 856-264-0564 or email her at

Nissan Expands LEAF Availability Into New U.S. Markets Days before the one-year anniversary of the world’s first Nissan LEAF delivery on Dec. 11, 2011, Nissan North America Inc. (NNA) expands availability of the all-electric LEAF into new U.S. markets. After one year and 20,000 global deliveries, the Nissan LEAF remains the world’s first and only allelectric car for the mass market. Nissan has re-opened reservations and has begun taking orders from the general public for the 2012 Nissan LEAF in Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana,

Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Deliveries of the LEAF, enriched for the 2012 model year with additional standard equipment including quick charging and cold-weather features, will take place in these key markets beginning in spring 2012. “Nissan LEAFs have been on the United States roads for one year now, and thousands of drivers have become living proof that a one hundred -percent electric, zero-emissions vehicle fulfills the daily needs of drivers from all walks

of life,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America. “We are seeing alreadystrong interest in the LEAF continue to grow across the country. This market expansion brings us one step closer to true, nationwide availability.” With this new wave of availability, Nissan LEAF is now available for order in 30 states, including Washington, D.C. Nationwide, 50-state ordering will be available by March 2012.n

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The "New" 2012 Infiniti FX A true pleasure to drive, the Infiniti FX, Infiniti’s iconic performance crossover, enters the 2012 model year with big news. The "new" FX presents a revised front grille and front fascia design, revised meter illumination, standard heated front seats on all models and the addition of the new Limited Edition FX35 AWD model.

The FX is also offered with large 4wheel disc brakes, along with available Continuous Damping Control (CDC®), Rear Active Steer, Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) and 21-inch lightweight aluminum-alloy wheels. Since the introduction of the original FX design in 2003, FX’s aggressive styling has served notice of its performance underpinnings with its long

“The changes to the FX front end styling for 2012 further distinguish it from those vehicles that have chased after its design leadership for the past eight years,” said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore.

One of those rare vehicles that is equally intriguing whether in motion or standing still, the Infiniti FX is again available with a choice of a 390-horsepower 5.0-liter 32-valve DOHC V8 engine with VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift) or with a 303-horsepower 3.5-liter 24valve DOHC V6 engine. Both engines are paired with a standard 7-speed automatic transmission featuring Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). The Infiniti FX50 features a standard 5.0-liter V8 engine design rated at 390 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It utilizes Infiniti’s Variable Valve Event & Lift (VVEL) valve control technology, which continuously adjusts valve timing and lift amounts, enabling higher fuel efficiency with higher torque and improved emissions over conventional variable valve designs. The VVEL intake camshafts, which feature continuously variable lift control teamed with a Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS), allow for a 6,800 rpm redline. Also offered is an advanced 3.5liter DOHC 24-valve V6, available on FX35 models. The V6 engine features an aluminum block and heads and electronically controlled throttle system and has been tuned specifically for use in the 16

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FX35. The engine is rated at 303-horsepower and 262 lbft of torque. Only one transmission is offered on the 2012 FX – a refined 7-speed transmission that offers both a wide ratio of coverage and a wide lockup area, as well as a manual shift mode, Downshift Rev Matching and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). The standard ASC system adapts the transmission’s shift timing depending on driving style. FX50 AWD and FX35 AWD models are equipped with Infiniti’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, which uses an advanced torque split control strategy that automatically redistributes torque to the wheels (0:100 up to 50:50 front to rear) according to road and driving conditions. FX offers independent suspension at all four corners, with a double-wishbone suspension design in front and a multi-link design in the rear. Large diameter stabilizer bars are utilized at both ends. The suspension system also incorporates special Dual Flow Path™ shock absorber technology with rebound springs for responsive yet comfortable ride and firm, tight handling. February 2012

hood, stretched wheelbase, short front and rear overhangs. The design’s distinctive side air vents, located behind the front wheels, allow air to flow through the engine compartment and out the side of the vehicle, reducing front end lift. For 2012, FX receives a bold new front grille and fascia design with an influence from the stunning Infiniti Essence Concept. “The changes to the FX front end styling for 2012 further distinguish it from those vehicles that have chased after its design leadership for the past eight years,” said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. “FX’s performance has always kept it ahead of the pack and once again its design does so too. FX’s pronounced performance appearance also features fog lamps and iconic High Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-functional xenon headlights. The aggressive silhouette is highlighted by a Infiniti FX Please Turn to Page 25

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House Small Business Committee Health Care Hearing The House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations has held a hearing titled “New Medical Loss Ratios: Increasing Health Care Value or Just Eliminating Jobs?” The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and its regulations require health insurance companies to devote a minimum percentage of the premium dollars to health care services and activities that improve health care quality. This percentage


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is called the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR). Insurers must spend a minimum of 80 percent of the premiums of individualand small-group market customers on medical claims and no more than 20 percent on administrative expenses, or pay rebates to their policyholders beginning in 2012. Under PPACA and its regulations, insurance agent commissions are considered to be administrative expenses. Insurance agents believe classifying them as such will cause insurance companies

February 2012

to reduce their commissions to improve their MLRs. Some have argued that the MLR requirements will ensure that customers receive the most value for their premium dollars. Insurance agents, many of whom are small-business owners and whose customers are often small businesses, believe that the MLR requirements may lead to lower levels of customer service and consolidation in the industry. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., chairman of the subcommittee, in his opening statement said: “We all want quality health care and affordable insurance premiums. But the MLR is likely to deter small insurers from entering the market and hasten the exit of established ones. Instead of protecting consumers, the MLR may dissuade insurers from making investments in antifraud, anti-waste, customer service and transparency tools because they are considered administrative, and those costs must be kept low. The MLR is an incentive for insurers to increase - not reduce - premiums, because they will need to improve their medical ratio and forgo administrative tools that can ultimately save money. And, as a National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ resolution said, the MLR requirements “have had profound detrimental marketplace effects for insurance producers [agents and brokers]...’” One witness, Gary Livengood, principal of What A Stitch LLC, stated in his testimony: “I also have strong feelings about how this will impact our company. If our agent is forced out of business by the new law, I will have to think very, very seriously about whether or not it will be feasible to continue to provide benefits to our employees. I don’t think I will be able to handle the new compliance burdens coming without professional help.”n

Support for OEM-Based Repair Standards Grows The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) reports that over 20 additional state and regional groups have asked to be recognized in support of the repair standards position taken by national associations representing the collision repair industry in early November. This clearly demonstrates a uniform voice within the industry, and that the vision for stan-dards development and adherence outlined by the national associations is supported and embraced by the representative bodies of collision repairers coast to coast. To date, the following groups, representing 22 states, have added their official endorsement to the statement: Alliance of Automotive Service Providers - MA (AASP-MA) Alliance of Automotive Service Providers – PA (AASP-PA) Alliance of Automotive Service Providers – NJ (AASP-NJ) Alliance of Automotive Service Providers – MN (AASP-MN) Alliance of Automotive Service Providers – MO (AASP-MO) Automotive Service Council of Kentucky (ASCKY)

Auto Body and Painting Association of Hawaii (ABPAH) California Autobody Association (CAA) Choice Autobody Repair Association (CARA) Florida Auto Collision Alliance (FACA) Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA) Iowa Collision Repair Association (ICRA) Long Island Auto Body Repair Association (LIABRA) Missouri / Kansas Chapter of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS MO/KAN) Montana Collision Repair Specialists (MCRS) New York State Auto Collision Technicians (NYSACT) Oregon Collision Repair Specialists (OCRS) South Dakota Auto Body

Association (SDABA) U.S. Alliance of Collision Professionals (USACP) Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) The statement made clear that the collision repair industry is to recognize the automobile Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEM) repair procedures as the official basis for collision industry repair standards. Further, the group asked the I-CAR Board of Directors to consider forming a council within its organizational structure to liaison with the OEM and address deficiencies in the current repair pro-cedures. Statements of support have also been received from other international groups who interact regularly with SCRS. The National Automotive Trades Association (NATA) is a federally chartered 'association of associations' brought together to present a unified voice for the Canadian automotive trades industry since 1947. In a statement received by SCRS on November 11th, NATA President, Rob Lang and Col-lision Repair Standards Please Turn to Page 34

February 2012

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House Judiciary Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Oversight of Antitrust Enforcement Agencies The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet held a hearing on Oversight of the Antitrust Enforcement Agencies. Witnesses included Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Sharis Pozen, acting assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. Leibowitz detailed the FTC’s work to promote competition and benefit consumers, by preventing anticompetitive mergers, restricting “pay-fordelay” pharmaceutical agreements that increase prescription drug costs, stopping anti-competitive hospital mergers and promoting competition in the hightechnology and energy markets. Leibowitz also told the subcommittee that competitive markets are the foundation of the U.S. economy, and effective antitrust enforcement is essential for those markets to function well.

“Vigorous competition promotes economic growth by keeping prices down, expanding output and the variety of choices available to consumers, and promoting innovation ...The FTC has jurisdiction over a wide swath of the economy, so we focus on sectors where our actions will do the greatest good for the greatest number of consumers, including energy, technology and, of course, health care. He said, “Health care costs have risen to nearly 18 percent of GDP and will continue to increase, so it is more important than ever that the commission be vigilant and take action to preserve and promote competition in health care markets” Leibowitz continued, “The cost of health care is a real problem for all Americans, and the commission seeks to address this national problem by using all the tools Congress gave to us, and by devoting significant resources so that

competition will enable market participants to deliver on the promises of costcontainment and continued excellence and innovation.” Pozen discussed many instances of investigation the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice has held recently to inspect and properly act on certain mergers. One of the many priorities Pozen discussed was health care. She said, “This past year has been an active one for our advocacy program.” In the healthcare arena, the division worked closely with the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other federal agencies to ensure that sound competition principles will help guide reform, encouraging innovation in health care delivery systems while preserving competitive markets.” The administration did not include the need for the reform or repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act in its testimony. n

1967 Mustang From Page 11

mania. The ’67 also got all-new sheetmetal, a redesigned grille, new taillights and a nifty option that put turn signals in the hood scoops. On the inside, the more luxurious interior took the Mustang in

Mustang with built-in air conditioning that was packaged behind the dash, not under it. Because more than 90 percent of the parts needed to restore a 1967 Mustang convertible are available new as Ford-licensed reproduction components, the ’67 convertible body can be built to just about any specification that was available when the car was new. Ford’s big-block engines from that era, including the 390, 427 and 428-cubic-inch motors, bolt right in with no modifications necessary. Also, the ’67 body can be used as a basis to build a replica of the Shelby GT350 or GT500 convertibles. “The ’67 convertible body is supported by thousands of highquality Ford-licensed restoration parts,” Mondrach said. “So, though it may be possible to build a 1967 Mustang using almost all new parts, we think most customers who buy the ’67 convertible shell will use it for high-performance applications, resto-mod projects or for show cars.”n ’67 Mustang: More luxury, more power, more style After a record-setting production run that saw more than a million Mustangs gallop out of Ford factory gates in just 18 months, the 1967 model was given a major redesign. The move helped keep Mustang ahead of the pack as new competitors from General Motors and Chrysler along with imported sports cars from Great Britain claimed a larger share of the mid-1960s youth market. No part of the Mustang was overlooked in 1967. The body was widened, the hood lengthened, and the engine bay grew in size to accommodate an array of six engines ranging from a thrifty and peppy 200-cubic-inch inline six-cylinder all the way up to a thundering 390-horsepower 427 that came in the Shelby GT500. This helped launch an entirely new generation of big-block high-horsepower pony cars that fueled the growing muscle car

a new direction. Buyers could opt for a tilt-away steering wheel, a gauge package with a built-in tachometer, brushed aluminum trim on the dash, door panels and shifter console. There was also a roof console with map lights between the sun visors, and the ’67 was the first February 2012

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instrument panel and features three-dimensional imaging. A signature example of the SRX’s attention to detail is the Cadillac script logos in the front door sill plates that illuminate when the doors are opened. SRX seats five and delivers generous occupant and cargo room, wrapped in the dramatic and signature Cadillac style that has pushed the brand back to the top of the world’s luxury manufacturer ranks. It is offered in a Base model and Luxury, Performance and Premium Collections, with all-wheel drive offered on all but the Base model. Popular features returning for 2012 include a moveable SRX From Page 13 six-speed automatic transmission, which features a driver-selectable Eco feature that alters the shift points for up to 1-mpg improved fuel economy in normal driving conditions. The SRX has a four-wheel independent suspension system and a standard rack-and-pinion hydraulic steering system – and offers a variable-effort, speed-sensitive steering system – with tuning biased for sport sedan-style driving and strong on-center feel. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard

and works in concert with the standard fourwheel-disc/four-channel-ABS braking system. The SRX’s interior is an environment of comfort and technology, with leather-trimmed seating standard on Luxury, Performance and Premium Collections and available equipment including a navigation system that rises from the center of the 22

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February 2012

cargo fence and large under-floor storage space in the rear, a liftgate that can be programmed to stop at different heights and the UltraView sunroof that covers 70 percent of the vehicle roof. The SRX is designed to protect occupants before, during and after a crash. A strong body structure and chassis that absorb crash energy are complemented by martensitic steel in the fully enclosed rocker sections. Martensitic steel is one of the strongest available and its use in the rockers helps protect against intrusion during a side-impact crash while also helping maintain the structure during front and rear crashes. n

Audatex’s Web-Powered AutoWatch Reaches Vehicle Repair Tracking Milestone, Helps Collision Repair Facilities Improve Customer Satisfaction Audatex North America, Inc., the leading global provider of software and services to the automobile insurance claims processing and collision repair industry, announced recently that AutoWatch, its web-powered repair tracking solution, has reached a key milestone with two million vehicles tracked via its online service. Audatex AutoWatch is an innovative customer service solution for collision repair facilities. It allows vehicle owners to view the progress of their vehicle repairs via the web. Each day, digital photos are uploaded and posted to a repair facility website along with the latest vehicle repair status information. Vehicle owners can check on their vehicle at home or work, and at any time via the Internet. By providing a communication channel for vehicle owners to get instant repair updates, AutoWatch substantially

reduces incoming phone calls, improves cycle time and, ultimately, increases customer satisfaction. Through improved customer satisfaction, collision repair facilities can generate more referral business and strengthen their direct repair relationships. “We live in an ever-connected world - instant, transparent and ‘anytime’ access to information is fast becoming the norm. The collision repair industry is no exception, and over the years we have seen a growing demand for tools and solutions that connect repairers, vehicle owners and insurers easily and efficiently,” said Patrick Schmidlin, Vice President of Product Management, Audatex North America. “With AutoWatch, vehicle owners get accurate repair status information in an instant. Our patented technology allows repairers to easily upload actual photos of repairs in progress. Using technology to improve commu-

nication between stakeholders in the repair process is a key goal at Audatex, and we plan to continue our innovations in this area.” According to Gordon Henderson, Director of AutoWatch, Audatex North America, the use of the AutoWatch solution has doubled in the last three years. “We are very pleased to see AutoWatch hit the two million mark this month in terms of the number of vehicles tracked. This is a clear indication that vehicle owners and repair facilities have embraced the idea of instant online repair updates. With AutoWatch, vehicle owners can choose to receive vehicle status updates with photos on the web, via email or text message, and can even share updates with friends via Facebook. We definitely see further growth for AutoWatch as more customers turn toward the online world for updates and information sharing.”n

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February 2012

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Rotary Lift Launches the World’s Fastest Vehicle Lift Rotary Lift introduces Shockwave, a package of patent-pending lift technologies that dramatically accelerate vehicle service speed to provide greater technician productivity and higher shop profitability. Shockwave-equipped twopost and SmartLift inground lifts use DC power to drive the world’s fastest rise/descent times. They also feature an exclusive Spotline laser spotting guide to speed up vehicle positioning, and a choice of new superstructures to maximize flexibility. “We spent two years talking with shop owners, dealers and technicians about their ‘pain points’ with vehicle lifts. Then we created Shockwave to address their common concerns,” explains Jim Dirksen, vice present, sales and marketing for Rotary Lift’s parent company Vehicle Service Group (VSG). “Recognizing that the lift is a shop’s top money-making tool, we included features that enable Shockwave-equipped lifts to start paying for themselves right

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away through lower installation and operating costs, and better cycle times.” Shockwave-equipped lifts are the world’s fastest. Their 25-second rise and 19-second descent times are twice as fast as standard lifts’. Shockwave’s impressive speed is made possible in part by its environmentally friendly DC power unit. A Shockwave-equipped lift is battery operated, with a built-in charger that runs on 110V current. This eliminates the need for 230V wiring, reducing installation costs more than 80%. Because the lift uses less electricity, daily operating costs are also lower. As an added benefit, Shockwave-equipped lifts operate even during a power outage. Technicians using Shockwave also can position a vehicle for service more quickly thanks to the patent-pending Spotline laser spotting guide and fastset superstructures. Spotline projects a green laser line into the middle of the lifting area. The technician pulling

a vehicle into the bay just centers the line on the vehicle’s hood and dash for perfect positioning. A motion detector turns Spotline on/off automatically. Rotary Lift offers five models of Shockwave-equipped two-post lifts. Choose between three superstructures: standard arm packages; moveable pads; or the patent-pending pad/arm hybrid that combines a three-stage rear arm with a fixed front pad. Every two-post Shockwave-equipped model provides an additional three inches of rise to give technicians more headroom and workspace. There are four models of Shockwave-equipped SmartLift inground lifts. Choose the patent-pending Trio(TM) superstructure or moveable pad superstructure. Shockwave-equipped two-post and SmartLift inground lifts are ALI certified to meet ANSI safety and performance standards. They are made in the U.S.A.n

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Infiniti FX From Page 16 strong front-to-rear shoulder line, tight greenhouse, kicked-back roofline and integrated rear spoiler. The large LED taillights extend beyond the body, helping create aerodynamic downforce, while large dual exhaust outlets with chrome finishers cap the action-ready appearance.

Under FX’s polished, assertive styling is an equally advanced body structure, offering room for five adults and the capacity to hold four full-size golf bags. FX utilizes the rigid FM (for Front Midship) platform architecture, with a balanced front-to-rear weight distribution to help provide exceptional handling performance. Efforts were taken to reduce weight, including the use of aluminum doors and hood, and enhance body strength. The Infiniti FX’s interior includes a command center-style cockpit designed to enhance the driving experience. The leather-appointed front seats offer 10way driver’s side/8-way passenger side power adjustments and are available with a heating and cooling function for maximum comfort in any season. Heated front seats are now standard on all FX models. The available driver’s sport seat adds poweradjustable side bolsters and a manual thigh extension. The high-tech

or design includes an Infiniti signature will automatically apply the brakes to double-wave instrument panel and Fine help maintain distance to the preceding Vision electroluminescent gauges. For vehicle. If the driver is on the throttle and 2012, meter illumination adds a more the system determines that braking may pronounced white appearance. be necessary, DCA will signal to the drivThe 2012 FX makes available an er that the throttle should be released by array of advanced technology and safety “pushing back” via the accelerator pedal. systems. The FX’s available advanced Initially a subtle push can be felt by the Around View® Monitor utilizes four small driver as a gentle reminder to mainsuperwide-angle cameras – mounted on tain a more appropriate distance. If the the front, side and rear driver continues closing in on the vehicle of the FX – to provide ahead, a more insistent double impulse a virtual 360° view of from the pedal plus an audible signal objects around the will urge the driver to release the throtvehicle, helping to tle. Upon release of the throttle, DCA maneuver it in tight will automatically engage the brakes. If spots. The system uses necessary, the driver can override the advanced image prosystem at any time by depressing the cessing to combine the accelerator pedal. images from the four The available Intelligent Cruise cameras and provide Control (Full-Speed Range) brings the a unique “Birds-Eye benefit of cruise control to another level, View” of the vehicle’s helping to maintain a preset distance to surroundings. the vehicle ahead whether in heavy trafThe available fic or on open freeways within a speed Distance Control Assist range of 0 and 90 mph. ICC can be a (DCA) system helps reduce the burden stress reliever particularly when driving of driving by helping the driver maintain in congested freeway traffic. The ICC sysa distance to the vehicle ahead in traffic tem operates across a wide speed range conditions that require frequent brakand helps the driver manage speed and ing. Whereas Intelligent Brake Assist is distance down to a complete stop. This on by default, Distance Control Assist is allows the FX to flow with traffic even available at the touch of a button. DCA at “crawling” speeds and then resume utilizes the the desired cruising accelerator speed once the road The Infiniti FX’s interior includes a command pedal to opens up again. center-style cockpit designed to enhance the The available driving experience. Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) system with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) uses the laser sensor unit from the Intelligent Cruise Control’s (ICC) system and continuously monitors and analyzes closing speeds to a vehicle ahead. IBA will warn the driver if it determines a frontal collision is imminent. If the driver does not respond to the warning and the collision can no longer be avoided, IBA will automatically engage the brakes to help reduce the impact speed and thus help mitigate the consequences of the accident. provide feedback to the driver. Also available on all 2012 FX models If the distance falls below a certain is the advanced Infiniti Lane Departure threshold when approaching the precedPrevention (LDP) system, which takes ing vehicle from behind, when the driver Infiniti’s Lane Departure Warning (LDW) releases the accelerator pedal the vehicle system one step further.n February 2012

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Georgia Tech Installs Recharge Solutions EV Charging System The Georgia Institute of Technology (“Georgia Tech”) and Recharge Solutions Int’l LLC (“RSI”) kicked off a unique pilot project at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center on December 5, 2011. The event featured demonstrations of the newly installed RSI level II 220 volt electric vehicle (EV) charging system and 110 volt electric fleet charging system. The RSI Systems are the first in the nation specifically designed for multi-level garages and fleets. The RSI 220 volt Level II chargers will be available to the University’s faculty, students and visitors 24/7. Users can register for short or long term charging and pay by credit card on an hourly or monthly basis. The RSI Fleet System will enable the University to effectively monitor the usage and costs of its present electric vehicle fleet. “Georgia Tech recognizes the importance of reducing dependence on foreign

oil and pollution from our cars. The RSI EV charging systems will allow us to provide this new technology for cars and our fleet and upon successful conclusion of the pilot project we anticipate expanding the two systems as demand grows for electric vehicles,” said Lance Lunsway, Georgia Tech Director of Transportation. The RSI System offers a unique patent-pending design, which features: • Flexibility to accommodate all harage configurations and parking facilities cost-effectively; • Scalability to expand from one car or over 200 cars simultaneously, as EV demand develops; • Ability to control access, time of use, payment method and provide on-going managment information; • Ability to provide local utilities with actual EV charging usage data; • Unique ability to manage any alternative fuel (i.e., natural gas,


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hydrogen, etc.), thereby assuring long-term viability for garage and fleet owners/operators. “We are excited to provide Georgia Tech with our advanced EV charging Systems. We believe the pilot projects will clearly demonstrate the value that our Systems can provide to multi-level garage and fleet owners,” said Matthew Leibowitz, CEO of Recharge Solutions Int’l. One of the nation’s top research universities, Georgia Tech is situated on a 400 acre campus in Atlanta. The school provides a focused, technology-based education for 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Recharge Solutions Int’l LLC, based in Miami, Florida, is a leader in electric vehicle management and integrated electric vehicle charging systems for multi-level garages, fleets and parking facilities.n

February 2012

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SCRS Responds to Article on Insurer Involvement in Setting Rates In a letter released December 20th, 2011, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) provided commentary on an article written by USA Today contributing editor, Adam Belz, and entitled, Auto body shops say they, not insurers, should set costs. The letter from SCRS counters points raised in the initial article, and provides information supporting the

assertion that the property & casualty insurance industry's direct influence over collision repair market pricing, has impacted both the consumer and the small businesses that make up the collision repair industry. Several key components of the letter identify that: - Property and casualty insurance carriers have become increasingly involved in activities that extend beyond

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February 2012

the business of insurance, while interjecting themselves into collision repair business activities. - The responsibility to compensate for fair and reasonable costs of the loss is significantly different than defining what is fair and reasonable. - Average gross collision appraisal values have remained stagnant comparing the first and third quarters of 2009, 2010 and 2011, and older data indicates that the average appraisal value has remained flat for at least the last 7 to 8 years; meanwhile, consumer auto insurance premium costs continue to rise and the Insurance Information Institute recently reported that private auto insurance is the most profitable line of insurance coverage in the United States. - The insurance industry's approach to establishing a singular prevailing labor rate charge for all businesses within a market fails to recognize the existence of reasonable variance between competitive businesses. - When the repair shop has entered into both the DRP contract with the carrier, and an authorization to repair contract with the vehicle owner, it is not necessarily as simple as insurers "promoting poor quality work," but it becomes a question of who has more influence over the repair facility's decision making in the repair process, and whose interest drives those decisions. In summary, the association states that, "the question is not IF insurance carriers directly impact collision repair market pricing, but rather IF their approach and purpose is appropriate. Are we really talking about saving consumer's money, or are we talking about increasing insurance company profits at the expense of their policyholders and the small businesses who serve them?"n

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Honda Fit Repeats at Top of Consumer Reports Best New-Car Value List Despite the influx of new vehicles into the small- and budget-car marketplace, the Honda Fit remains on top in Consumer Reports list of best value small cars. The Fit also re-emerged as the best overall value among some 200 different vehicles that were analyzed. "A low price doesn't necessarily make a car a good value," said Rik Paul, automotive editor at Consumer Reports. "A cheap vehicle can wind up costing you more money over time or can be disappointing down the road. We think real value is what you get for your money." Consumer Reports mined its performance, reliability, and ownership cost data to calculate value scores for some 200 different vehicles ranging from small cars like the Honda Fit to luxury sedans such as the Jaguar XJL. Scores were calculated based on

the five-year owner cost for each vehicle along with Consumer Reports road-test score and the organization's own predicted-reliability. Five-year owner cost estimates factor in depreciation, fuel costs, insurance premiums, interest on financing, maintenance and repairs, and sales tax. Depreciation is by far the largest owner-cost factor. In short, the better a car performs in Consumer Reports road tests and reliability ratings, and the less it costs to own over time, the better its value. Overwhelmingly, the best values come from Japanese automakers, including most of the top models in each category. Of the 48 best values in Consumer Reports lists, 34 are from Japanese brands. Six models come from European brands (mostly Volkswagen), five come from American ones (mostly

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Ford), and three are from South Korean automakers. In all, 11 different categories of vehicles were evaluated including small cars, family sedans, upscale and luxury sedans, sporty cars, wagons, minivans, small SUVs, midsized SUVs, large and luxury SUVs, compact pickups, and fullsized pickups. Within categories, models are ranked by value score, above or below the average. Overall the report finds that small cars and family sedans provide the best value. In addition to the Honda Fit, the Toyota Prius hybrid, diesel-powered Golf TDI (with manual transmission), Scion xD, and Toyota Corolla also made Consumer Reports list of best values in the small car category. Most scored at least twice Consumer Reports Turn to Page 32


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Consumer Reports From Page 31 as high as the average model and higher than any other model in Consumer Reports' analysis. Even the lowest-scoring small car, the Chevrolet Cruze, is close to average in overall value. Best Value Small Car: Honda Fit Worst Value Small Car: Chevrolet Cruze 1LT The family-sedans category is led by the four-cylinder Nissan Altima, which scored 75 percent higher than average. That's followed by the four-cylinder Kia Optima, the Subaru Legacy, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and the four-cylinder Honda Accord. Again, even the lowestrated family sedans have value scores that are slightly better than average. Larger and luxury vehicles are among the worst values overall. The best large and midsized SUVs, for example, tend to earn about the same value score as the lowest-ranked family sedans. Large or luxury sedans and SUVs also usually score at only about 70 percent of the average. There are exceptions. The topscoring upscale sedan, the Lexus ES 350, earned a value score that's almost one and a half times the average, for example. The ES is comfortable, quiet, roomy, and reliable, and it's a nicer overall car to drive than the four-cylinder Altima family sedan. But its cost per mile is a

relatively high 77 cents, and its fiveyear owner cost is $11,000 more than the Altima's. That drops its value score slightly below the Nissan.

SUVs, only the BMW X3, Acura RDX and MDX, Infiniti EX, and gas and hybrid versions of the Lexus RX had above-average value scores.

Best Value Upscale & Luxury Sedan:Lexus ES 350 Worst Value Upscale & Luxury Sedan: Jaguar XJL

Best Value Small SUVs: Toyota RAV4 (base, 4-cyl.) Worst Value Small SUVs: Jeep Liberty Sport

The analysis also revealed wagons and small SUVs tend to provide better value than larger SUVs or minivans. Among wagons, the diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta TDI with manual transmission is the top scorer, offering almost 70 percent more value than the average car. Other good choices are the Mazda5 microvan and Subaru Outback, with almost one and a half times that of the average value.

Minivans generally get better fuel economy than most midsized or larger SUVs, have more space than all but the largest SUVs, and usually cost less. But as a class, subpar reliability drags them down. Even the most reliable minivan, the front-wheel drive versions of the Toyota Sienna, have only average reliability, which allows us to recommend them. As a result, they are also the only minivans that earned a better-than-average value score. Consumer Reports analysis also showed that hybrids can be relatively good values because of a combination of good fuel economy, low depreciation, and above-average reliability. As a class, hybrids have an overall value that's at least one and a half times that of the average model, and on average they cost about 65 cents per mile to drive over the first five years. The complete best and worst lists for all 11 best car values categories are available in the February Issue of Consumer Reports and online at www.

Best Value Small SUV: Toyota RAV4 (base, 4-cyl.) Worst Value Small SUV: Jeep Liberty Sport The top small SUVs are even better values than wagons. Leading that class are the four-cylinder Toyota RAV4 and the Subaru Forester, with scores that are 84- and 70-percent better than average. Midsized SUVs represent less of a bargain because of their higher purchase prices and fuel costs. Even the best midsized SUVs in the chart scored only a little better than average. Among luxury

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February 2012

Ford Brand Sales Top 2 Million for 1st Time Since 2007 U.S. sales of the Ford brand topped 2 million vehicles for the first time since 2007 during the last week of 2011. The milestone makes Ford the best selling brand in America and the first automotive brand to hit the 2 million mark since 2007. "Ford's lineup of high-quality, fuelefficient cars, utilities and trucks continues to attract more and more new customers," said Erich Merkle, Ford's sales analysis manager. "With gasoline prices tracking higher than last year, customers continue to move toward smaller, more

fuel-efficient vehicles, whether they are passenger cars or utilities." Both the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus achieve 40 mpg highway, while the Ford Explorer brings a class leading 28 mpg highway with its new EcoBoost engine. Ford's smallest utility, the fuel-efficient Escape, has achieved record sales volumes this year and is America's best selling utility vehicle. Overall, Ford brand small cars are on pace to post an increase of more than 20 percent this year. Ford brand utilities

are tracking to post more than a 30 percent gain. Most Ford products deliver bestin-class fuel economy and provide customers with the opportunity to choose what best works for them – from EcoBoost-powered gasoline vehicles to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electrified vehicles. In fact, with the company's new electrified vehicle introductions, nearly one-third of Ford's vehicle lines in the U.S. will feature a model with 40 mpg or more in 2012 – a claim no other full-line automaker can match.n

OEConnection Unveils Redesigned Website OEConnection LLC, the parts ecommerce technology leader for OEM distribution networks, has announced a major redesign of its website, www. Reflecting the company’s steady growth and expansion into international and non-automotive markets, as well as a heightened focus on providing valuable product and enrollment information, the new site combines function and design for the benefit of the numerous business customers of OEConnection – original equipment manufacturers, distributors, dealers, fleets, and repair shops – as well as job seekers, community partners, the media, and other interested parties. “It’s an exciting time at

OEConnection, and our new corporate website better communicates who we are as a company, as an employer of choice in northeast and central Ohio, and as a provider of solutions within the OEM parts marketplace,” said OEConnection President & CEO Chuck Rotuno. “This initiative is just one example of our commitment to continuous improvement and enhanced value for our stakeholders.” The redesigned OEConnection website offers visitors the opportunity to: Navigate quickly to solutions that meet the unique needs of OEMs, distributors, dealers and their wholesale parts customers (fleets, body shops and


independent repair facilities) Subscribe to OEConnection solutions using a simplified and automated enrollment feature Apply for open positions at OEConnection, where the associate base growth averages 15% year-over-year View current, rotating news about OEConnection, its products and industries Connect with OEConnection social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube To support the company’s growing international presence, the new OEConnection website will soon be released in three additional languages (Spanish, French and Chinese).n


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U.S. Senate Committee Considers Transportation Safety Reauthorization Bills The U.S. Senate Committee on U.S. Commerce, Science, and Transportation recently marked up Transportation Safety Reauthorization legislation. The markup included Sen. Barbara Boxer’s, D-Calif., amendment to S. 1449 (Mariah’s Act), which outlines strict standards for vehicles rented at vehicle rental facilities. She later withdrew this amendment. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., also submitted an amendment to S. 1449,

relating to motorcyclists and safety grants for those states that mandate safety laws and are effective in doing so. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., submitted an amendment to S. 1449 authorizing an extensive distracted driving study. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., also offered 19 amendments to S. 1449. These amendments included requests to strike a provision that authorizes the use of federal funds to lobby state legislators, which was

approved. He also offered an amendment to change the definition of crash avoidance, which was also approved. Other amendments offered included a strike to references to motorcycle helmets and prescription eyeglasses in the definition of motor vehicle equipment, a reduction in authorization levels by 5 percent, and to set the maximum civil penalty for violations of chapter 301 of title 49 at $30 million, among other things.n

Consumer Reports From Page 14

lems, learn how components work, and receive a service estimate that reflect local prices. RepairPal is a web service that was started in 2007 by a group of automotive enthusiasts to provide drivers with accurate, unbiased, and useful car ownership information. RepairPal is not owned, in whole or in part, by any automobile manufacturer, dealership, auto parts provider, or auto repair facility. Reliability is the Leading Factor Behind Vehicle Replacement

With the average age of vehicles on the road today being nine years old, and given the tough economy, motorists are primarily driven to replace an existing vehicle because of poor reliability (82 percent), safety concerns (67 percent) or repair costs (47 percent). Other factors respondents cited as very important were: current vehicle no longer meets their needs (41 percent); poor fuel economy (35 percent); uncomfortable (27 percent); outdated technology (10 percent); and, being bored with the styling (6 percent).n

officially recognized standards for the auto body, collision re-pair and auto refinish industry in Canada.” “It is great to see the responses from the various bodies and associations around the USA following the statement made at the Collision

Industry Conference meeting held during the 2011 SEMA Show,” added David Newton-Ross, Convenor of the Collision Repair Specialists of Australia (CRSA) in an email to SCRS on November 14th. “We certainly support your action on standards in the USA.”n

According to the survey, independent repair shops were used more often (37 percent) than dealers (30 percent) or repair chains (11 percent). While consumers are mostly happy with their maintenance and repair experiences, it is clear that being better informed can lead to higher satisfaction. Consumer Reports has launched the Car Repair Estimator, a repair information service powered by RepairPal, that can help drivers understand common probRepair Standards From Page 19 Chair John Norris stated, “The National Automotive Trades Association is very encouraged by the positive actions of our sister organizations in the United States. We agree that Original Equipment Manufacturers' repair standards are the


Southern Automotive Journal

February 2012

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ORIGINAL MINI PARTS: POWER HARNESSED FOR THE GOOD OF MOTORINGKIND. While much about the MINI’s boundless energy remains a mystery, some of its vigor can be traced to Original MINI Parts. Built to strict OE specifications for stellar fitment and performance, MINI Original Parts are the same parts used in MINI production. They’re backed by a potent, 24-month, gajillion-mile limited warranty. And they come with technical support available from your servicing MINI dealer. Now that’s a powerful combination, indeed.

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Southern Automotive Journal - Feb 2012 Issuel  

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

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