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NIssan Versa May 2012

COLLISION NEWS PartsTrader, State Farms Testing New Pricing Model for Parts Procurement

Lamborghini Aventador J A Unique Work of Art Licensed For The Road

Infiniti Launches National Certified Collision Repair Network McCarran-Ferguson Repeal for Health Insurers Amendment Passes on House Floor


Ram to Build North America’s Only OEM Compressed Natural Gas-powered Pickup

At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Automobili Lamborghini revealed the most uncompromising open super sports car of its entire history. The Lamborghini Aventador J is a force of nature on wheels – supremely powerful and supremely open. The Aventador J offers its pilot and co-pilot an utterly indescribable experience of power and dynamics. At the same time, the 515 kW / 700 hp two-

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Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Produces 500,000th Vehicle

seater is a first class technology showcase, combining innovative solutions and brand new materials and demonstrating Automobili Lamborghini’s enormous expertise in carbon fiber technology. The Lamborghini Aventador J is a radically open automobile – exterior Aventador J Please Turn to Page 4

Toyota Yaris


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BMW of South Atlanta 678.479.4622 800.959.2241 Nalley BMW 404.296.8644 800.622.2021

Mini Mini of South Atlanta

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Ferrari Ferrari Maserati of Atlanta FIAT




Rick Hendrick Chevrolet 678.957.5300 888.339.7278 Gwinnett Place Honda 678.957.5151 800.277.8836 Nalley Honda 770.306.4646 800.367.9834 Tameron Honda

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Buyers Guide

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770.216.7580 888.685.3280 770.216.7560 SAAB Jim Ellis SAAB of Marietta

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Nissan Jim Burke Nissan 205.320.7320 866.320.7320 205.458.4452 Nalley Nissan 404.292.4774 800.647.7278 404.297.6962 Lexus Nalley Lexus Marietta 770.514.7408 800.966.5398 770.590.4132 Nalley Lexus Roswell 678.795.2050 877.495.3987 678.795.9606

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Aventador J From Front Cover

The Lamborghini Aventador J is a super sports car of positively dramatic single-mindedness and openness. It combines the overwhelming performance of the Lamborghini Aventador with the most intense experience of power and dynamics imaginable in an automobile. The technical basis for the Aventador J is the Aventador LP 700-4, Lamborghini’s new twelve-cylinder model. Presented in 2011, the Aventador has been acclaimed by customers and journalists alike. The

extremely light for its performance class thanks to its carbon fiber construction.

and interior meld into each other. The designers and engineers in Sant’Agata Carbonskin, a brand new carbon fiber Bolognese have not only dispensed material entirely with the roof, but also with The unique expertise of Automobili the front windshield. This requires that Lamborghini in the field of carbon fiber drivers of the Aventador J must have reinforced polymers is evident not only the right equipment for driving at top in the hi-tech monocoque, but also in the speeds higher than 186 mph. research into further innovative solutions. This kind of driving at the limit Unlike traditional seats, in the Aventador is a highly exclusive experience – the J seats are made of Forged COMPOSITE Lamborghini with inserts of flexAventador J is ible carbon fiber fully functional fabrics: a result for road use. It of an innovative is an absolute Lamborghini patone-off: a oneent. of-a-kind piece The specialof art. ists at Lamborghini “With the have developed an Lamborghini even more amazAventador J, we ing version of carhave molded bon fiber material our brand DNA for the Aventador “With the Lamborghini Aventador J, we have molded our brand DNA into its into its most J. In its first automost definitive form to date." definitive form motive applicaStephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. to date. This autotion, this carbon mobile is as extreme and as uncomproLamborghini Aventador LP 700-4’s tech- fiber fabric called “Carbonskin” is made mising as only a Lamborghini can be,” nology package is unique – its structure of woven carbon fibers soaked with a says Stephan Winkelmann, President is based on an innovative monocoque very special epoxy resin that stabilizes and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. made from carbon fiber reinforced poly- the fiber structure and keeps the material “The new Lamborghini Aventador J is mers that combines systematic light- soft. Like a hi-tech fabric, the carbon fiber the most radical open supersports car of weight design with optimum stiffness mats fit perfectly to every shape. In the Lamborghini’s history. Its name comes and safety. The new twelve-cylinder with Aventador J, the complete cockpit and from our tradition and combines an a displacement of 6.5 liters and 515 kW parts of the seats are clad in this material unconventional design with technology / 700 hp combines the best in high-rev- and shimmer in matt carbon fiber black. innovation. Nowadays we are confrontving thrills with mighty pulling power. Its ed with several regulations that we face super-fast ISR transmission, permanent The Design: uncompromisingly in the spirit of challenge. The Aventador all-wheel drive and push-rod suspen- Lamborghini J is the proof that, despite the rules, sion combine this potent power with the An extreme Aventador obviously Lamborghini will always make people utmost handling precision. needs an equally single-minded design, dream, even in the future.” which goes without saying at the Centro Systematic lightweight design – consid- Stile Lamborghini. Every single model Continuation of a glorious tradition erable weight reduction from Sant’Agata Bolognese bears the With the Aventador J, technically Naturally, the Aventador J benefits unique design of the brand. based on the Aventador, Automobili enormously from this unique technology Clear, precise surfaces, as well as Lamborghini is carrying on its glorious package. Yet the Aventador J has a sig- sharp, often broken lines are among the brand tradition. nificantly different interpretation to the unmistakable styling tools. They consisThe letter J is derived from the Aventador coupé. In this open version, tently emphasize the power and enorsporting rules of the FIA world motorthe monocoque has a largely new design, mous presence of these Italian super sport organization. Its “Appendix J” including the two safety bars behind the sports cars. Not one line is ever accidendefines the technical specification of seats. The absence of a roof, of the large tal – the defining principle is always ‘form race cars in the various classes. windshield, of the air conditioning system follows function’. and of the navigation system obviously This function is very clearly defined The Aventador: Extremely open, overtakes it to an even lower weight. With whelming power a dry weight of 3472 pounds, the series Aventador J Continued on Next Page production Aventador LP 700-4 is already 

Southern Automotive Journal

May 2012

Aventador J From Previous Page for the Aventador J – explosive dynamics, extreme driving fun, a unique experience. Rear view mirror like a periscope Virtually every part of the outer chassis was redesigned for the Aventador J, yet it shows the spirit of Lamborghini in its most concentrated form. The car’s dimensions are extreme: the overall length is 193 inches, the overall width (excluding mirrors) is 80 inches while the height is 44 inches. The highest points are marked by the rear view mirror, which is perched on an arm like a periscope, and by the two safety bars behind the seats. In place of the classic front windshield there are two small wind deflectors. The occupants of the Aventador J are confronted by the element of the wind in much the same way as a superbike rider – therefore the right clothing is prerequisite for every trip. Red with chrome effect, wheels with CFRP fan The black of the carbon fiber parts is visibly evident throughout the car – the significantly wider sill elements and the mighty rear diffuser form a perfect contrast to the rich red body paintwork. The wheels, of course, were developed specifically for this car, with 20-inch rims at the front and 21-inch at the rear. The five-spoke aluminum wheels have a central lock system and an additional carbon fiber insert that functions like a small fan for optimum brake ventilation. Naturally, the doors on the Aventador J also open upward. They are considerably thinner than on the Aventador and are fitted with a tiny, fixed side window. The muscular flanks around the rear wheels are hallmark Lamborghini and make it immediately apparent where this particular bull keeps his power. Rear end purely for aerodynamics and ventilation Because of its ample dimensions, the eye is drawn inexorably to the rear end. It consists in principle of just three elements – the carbon-fiber rear diffuser, the four huge tail pipes and the

rear lights with their typical Lamborghini light signature in the form of a Y. The remaining surface area is for heat dissipation and is enclosed only by a black metal mesh. The rear end is crowned by an enormous fixed spoiler mounted on the bodyshell by two arms. ‘Form follows function’ to the nth degree. The spoiler is supported by two pillars connected by the diffuser. The outside comes inside The Aventador J’s exterior and interior forms flow seamlessly into each other. This supersports car turns its inside outward and is as open as it can possibly be. Conversely, the exterior ‘flows’ through the interior – a red stripe runs from the front hood, between the two wind deflectors, over the dashboard, down the console to the center tunnel and back up between the seat backs, before leaving the interior and heading for the engine cover panel. This band of color connects the front and the rear of the car, creates a visual separation between the driver and passenger space. The Aventador J is equipped with two programmable TFT displays behind the steering wheel. The engine cover also brings the inside to the outside. To be more precise, it is not so much a cover but more a framework. This part has a new geometry (X shape) and is made of carbon fiber. Two large openings lay bare both cylinder banks of the mighty V12 power unit with its 6.5 liters of displacement – a truly stunning sight for every automobile aficionado. n May 2012

Southern Automotive Journal

2012 GICA Labor Rate Survey Show Increase in 2012 The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) recently completed their 6th Annual Labor & Materials Rate Survey for Metro Atlanta. The Survey was conducted by CSi Complete to ensure unbiased data collection. CSi Complete is a provider of customer satisfaction indexing to collision repair, insurance companies and other service industries and you can learn more information about the company by visiting their website at

GICA goal in conducting this annual survey and sharing the results is twofold: To utilize an impartial company to identify and communicate statistically valid figures representing the prevailing labor and material rate for collision repair services offered in the Atlanta Metro area, and To communicate the results of the research to both collision repair facilities, insurance carriers and the appropriate parties involved in serving the consumer in the repair and claims handling process. The 2012 survey indicates a 1.56% average increase over 2011 rates, bringing labor rates to $42.00 and Materials to $30.00. The GCIA has conducted this survey for Six (6) consecutive years. No other industry association in the U.S. has collected this amount of accurate data on collision materials and labor rates. This year, 292 shops participated, and the results clearly demonstrate the actual prevailing rate in the metro Atlanta marketplace.

2012 GCIA Labor Survey Rate Results 2012 GCIA On-line Labor Rate Survey Over $2,000,000 in Annual Gross Sales $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 in Annual Gross Sales $500,000 to $1,000,000 in Annual Gross Sales Under $500,000 in Annual Gross Sales 134 On Line Surveys

Survey's 60 34 28 12 134


2012 GCIA Call Center Labor Rate Survey Over $2,000,000 in Annual Gross Sales $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 in Annual Gross Sales $500,000 to $1,000,000 in Annual Gross Sales Under $500,000 in Annual Gross Sales 158 Call Center Surveys

Survey's 20 27 53 58 158


Average of On-Line and Call Center Survey Over $2,000,000 in Annual Gross Sales

Survey's 80


$1,000,000 to $2,000,000 in Annual Gross Sales $500,000 to $1,000,000 in Annual Gross Sales Under $500,000 in Annual Gross Sales 292 Total Surveys

2008 $40.71 $40.37 $62.81 $27.32

Sheet Metal Rate: Refinish Rate: Frame Rate: Paint & Material Rate: Average YoY Increase

2009 $41.18 $40.94 $61.81 $26.83

$42.30 $41.93 $41.57 $41.33

  

$43.42 $43.65 $43.61 $43.17

$66.42 $66.15 $66.04 $64.92

$59.60 $55.86 $54.50 $55.00

  

$42.30 $41.93 $41.08 $41.24

$66.25 $64.44 $63.94 $63.86

$58.25 $51.00 $55.78 $56.58

  


$30.27 $30.42 $30.39 $31.13


$29.35 $30.73 $28.66 $28.31



$20.92 $23.65 $24.82 $24.17


$23.16 $23.44 $23.59 $21.17








$42.79 $42.69 $42.25

$42.79 $42.34 $42.20

$65.30 $64.99 $64.39

$53.43 $55.14 $55.79

$30.58 $29.53 $29.72

$23.54 $24.20 $22.67

Average Rates 2010 2011 $42.12 $42.39 $42.12 $42.32 $64.35 $64.80 $28.07 $28.99

2012 $42.78 $42.66 $65.54 $29.97

Increase over prior Yr 2009 2010 2011 1.15% 2.29% 0.64% 1.41% 2.89% 0.47% -1.59% 4.10% 0.70% -1.79% 4.60% 3.28% 0.95% 3.15% 1.43%

2012 0.92% 0.81% 1.14% 3.38% 1.56%

61 81 70 292

Year over Year Analysis

$43.42 $43.65 $43.82 $43.17

Georgia Collision Industry Association – 595 Commerce Park Dr Marietta, Georgia 30060 FAX: (770)590-3881 VOICE: (770)770-367-9816

Southern Automotive Journal

May 2012

NADA/ATD Study: EPA Underestimated Emissions Control Costs for Model Year 2004-2010 Heavy-Duty Trucks The National “The lessons EPA cost predictions were two to five times greater than the actuAutomobile learned from this Dealers Association report apply directal cost for truck buyers to comply with emissions mandates. ( NADA) and ly to the proposed American Truck Dealers (ATD) released compared the EPA’s cost predictions to MY 2017-2025 fuel economy regulations a new report recently that calls into the actual cost of meeting its motor for light-duty vehicles. That rulemaking, question the Environmental Protection vehicle emissions mandates. The study, combined with previous Obama adminAgency’s (EPA) cost analysis of emiswhich looks back at the 2004-2010 istration fuel economy mandates, will sions control requirements for model medium- and heavy-duty truck emisraise the average price of a vehicle by year (MY) 2004-2010 commercial trucks. sions mandates, reveals that the EPA $3,000, according to EPA and National The mandates resulted in substantially underestimated actual compliance costs Highway Traffic Safety Administration higher prices for commercial vehicles, on average by a factor of two to five. It estimates. When faced with unreasondepressed sales, and delayed the envishows what can happen when a regulaable federal regulatory mandates that ronmental benefits that the EPA origitory proposal - based on far in-advance increase motor vehicle costs, buyers of nally sought. predictions - seeks to set mandates far in light-duty vehicles - similar to what comNADA/ATD released the following the future. Importantly, the study documercial truck buyers experienced - will statement: ments the real-world market disruptions seek out less expensive alternatives in “Until now, few studies have ever that can occur as a result.” the marketplace.” n

Social Media and Mobile Help Car Owners Save Time and Money at The growing population of DIYers seeking answers to their auto repair problems is increasingly turning to social media: reported that nearly 80,000 consumer repair questions have been answered by individuals at Auto Answers,’s online and mobile repair community. Additionally, according to a recent survey(1) of the community, these answers are saving car owners time and money: 72% report that the Auto Answers community has helped them save time and money on auto repair, with 70% of survey respondents saying it saved them over $100 on repairing their vehicle. “DIYers are doing more of their own auto repairs, and a tough economy is also leading more, who have never done so before, to attempt their own repairs(2),” said Brian Hafer, VP of Marketing at “We’re finding that these DIYers are now turning to social media and on-the-go mobile apps to hunt down the answers to their questions -- as evidenced by the growth of our Auto Answers community, which is a uniquely empowering tool providing thousands and thousands of car owners with useful, actionable, timeand money-saving advice every week.” Auto Answers, including its onthe-go version, AutoDoc on AutoMD mobile, enables auto experts and

viduals to provide answers to consumer repair questions, and makes it easy for car owners to search for communitygenerated solutions to vehicle problems. Car owners can drill down to question and answer categories specific to their issues and their vehicle make, and they can also search by repair question or repair issue. A popular new AutoMD mobile feature (87% surveyed found it useful) enables car owners to take a picture or a video from home, or on the road, of their vehicle problem on their iPhone, post it, along with their question to the community, and then May 2012

receive an alert when an answer has posted. Social Media Please Turn to Page 34

Southern Automotive Journal

2012 Nissan Versa Sedan – The “Big Small Car” Brings Innovation Within Reach Small on the outside, big on the inside. Smart technology with next-generation efficiency. A $10,990 starting M.S.R.P. and low cost of ownership. New dual injector system and sub-planetary CVT design. Expected combined city/ highway fuel economy of 33 miles per gallon. New global “V” (for Versatile) platform. Sophisticated styling, high quality interior. There are myriad ways the all-new 2012 Nissan Versa Sedan breaks new ground for entry-level compact sedans. And many ways to sum them all up. But perhaps a simple statement is best: Innovation Within Reach. “Compact cars are getting a lot of attention lately due to rising fuel costs and concerns about the environment. Yet many buyers are disappointed in what they find – vehicles rife with compromise,” says Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “This new Versa Sedan, a ‘clean sheet’ ground-up design, takes small cars in a whole new direction – proving that you don’t have to sacrifice style for affordability, interior roominess for a smaller footprint, or drivability for high mpg.” Small When You Need It, Big Where You Want It Knowing that entry-level vehicles are used as “workhorses” – for commuting on weekdays, errand running on weekends and transporting family and friends all week long – the designers of the new Versa Sedan sought to combine five-passenger practicality with a high degree of comfort and refinement. It also offers an unexpected level of available entertainment and connectivity features, such as Bluetooth®, navigation system with 5-inch touch-screen display, Satellite Radio and an iPod®/USB interface. “We see buyers in this segment as people who are always busy, even while relaxing,” explains Castignetti. “With the 

Southern Automotive Journal

to the shape of the sidewalls. A 60/40-split folddown rear seat is offered on SL models for even greater versatility. The Versa Sedan’s new exterior design is also a departure from most current compact sedans, offering a fresh, refreshing design character that is both sophisticated and highly aerodynamic. “The new Versa Sedan stands out as the only expensive looking car in the segment – with

amount of time they typically spend in their vehicles, we want to make sure they feel good about their purchase long after the new car smell has worn off. So we invested in areas that they see and touch most – like available Fine Vision instrumentation, quality fabrics, bright trim work and comfortable seating for front and rear seat passengers.” The new Versa Sedan’s interior volume of 90.0 cubic feet and trunk volume of 14.8 cubic feet (104.8 cubic feet total) are intended to not only look great on a specifications sheet – the passenger and cargo spaces have been configured for real-world use. Versa Sedan has, for example, more rear legroom than some mid-size sedans – trumping even luxury cars such as the Lexus LS460, BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. And the trunk design focuses on useable space, taking into consideration everything from the size of the hinges May 2012

a lot of eye power,” said Castignetti. “Its sculpted, dynamic proportions are modern without being gimmicky, projecting a much higher sense of design value than you might expect in a vehicle with a $10,990 starting M.S.R.P.” To achieve the new Versa Sedan’s upscale look, the designers gave the exterior shape a strong sense of volume, with a wide shoulder width and a smooth silhouette. In front, Versa Sedan features Nissan’s new signature sedan grille design and jewel-like headlights. The front end blends smoothly into the cabin, which offers flowing curves, while design elements such as the shape of the trunklid help give the new Versa Sedan excellent aerodynamics, including a low coefficient of drag Nissan Versa Please Turn to Page 16

Allan Vigil Ford (770) 960-1208 (800) 324-3814 FAX (770) 960-6268 6790 Mt. Zion Blvd Morrow GA 30260

Southern Automotive Journal 

Gwinnett Place Ford (770) 813-6825 (866) 665-9318 FAX (770) 662-6156 3230 Satellite Blvd. Duluth GA 30096

May 2012 May 2012 Southern Automotive Journal

American Military Society: Pass “Right to Repair Act” to Support Military Families at Home The American Military Society (AMS) urges Congress to pass the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 1449) on behalf of its membership which includes active, reserve, National Guard, retired and veterans of the uniformed services, their families and survivors. “Selling a car without complete access to repair information is like selling prescription drugs without the doc-


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tor’s dosing instructions. It doesn’t make sense. That’s why we are asking Congress to rectify this situation and pass the Right to Repair Act,” said Charles C. Partridge, Col, USA (Ret) of AMS. “When local repair shops are denied access to non-proprietary repair information from the car companies, competition is limited. All consumers benefit from competition, but those serving our country and their

May 2012

families at home derive particular benefit from being able to obtain affordable, effective and convenient repairs for their vehicles.” Right to Repair levels the competitive playing field for motoring consumers and between new car dealerships and independent repair shops by requiring that car companies provide full, fair access at a reasonable cost to all non-proprietary service information, tools and safety-related bulletins needed to repair today’s high-tech motor vehicles. The Right to Repair Act was introduced into the 112th Congress by Reps. Edolphus Towns (DNY) and Todd Russell Platts (R-PA), and currently has 46 co-sponsors. “As cars become more complicated with more computer systems, the problem becomes more acute,” continued Partridge. “Military personnel and their families are often stationed in remote locations far from any dealerships, relying on independent repair shops to service their vehicles. Most do not have the time to find the nearest dealership, drive all the way there and wait for their sole source of transportation to be repaired. If critical repairs go unperformed, then safety may be compromised. Passage of Right to Repair will ensure that all repair information is readily available to their trusted repair shop so they can have their vehicles repaired close to home, even when their vehicles are more recently out of warranty.”n

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service Facilities Outpaces Satisfaction With Independent Service Centers Vehicle owners who visit dealer facilities for service are considerably more satisfied with their experience at dealerships than with service from independent facilities, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study(SM) released. Among customers of dealer facilities, overall satisfaction with the service experience averages 38 points higher on a 1,000-point scale, compared with non-dealer facilities (787 vs. 749, respectively). In addition, 79 percent of all service visits among owners of one- tothree-year-old vehicles are performed at dealer facilities -- up from 74 percent in 2011 and 72 percent in 2010. Overall satisfaction with dealer service improves by 19 points in 2012, compared with 2011, with gains in all five study measures. Among the 33 rankeligible brands, 28 improve in service satisfaction from 2011, with eight brands improving by at least 20 points. Contributing to the overall improvement is a shift in the proportion of maintenance and repair work performed at dealer service centers. In 2012, 72 percent of vehicle owners indicate their latest dealer service visit was for maintenance rather than repair, an increase from 63 percent in 2011. Customer satisfaction with maintenance visits is typically higher than satisfaction with repair visits, since visits for routine maintenance tend to be less expensive and less time-consuming. “Steady improvements in vehicle quality, longer intervals between recommended service visits and a higher mix of maintenance service events have had a positive effect on overall dealer service satisfaction,” said Chris Sutton, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates. “Moreover, manufacturers and their dealers have instituted broadbased customer service improvement initiatives to increase satisfaction with both the purchase experience and aftersales service, with the understanding that a substandard service occasion can and will impact their ability to make a future vehicle sale or gain repeat service business.”

The study examines satisfaction among vehicle owners who visit a service department for maintenance or repair work. The CSI rankings are based on dealer service performance during the first three years of new-vehicle ownership, which typically represents the majority of the vehicle warranty period. Five measures are examined to determine overall customer satisfaction with dealer service (listed in order of importance): service quality; service initiation; service advisor; service facility; and vehicle pick-up. Lexus ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service among luxury brands and receives an award for a fourth consecutive year. Lexus achieves an overall CSI score of 861 and performs particularly well in three of the five measures: service initiation, service facility and service quality. Rounding out the top five nameplates in the luxury segment are Cadillac (852); Jaguar (849); Acura (838); and Porsche (836). Among luxury brands, Audi achieves the greatest improvement (gaining 34 points) from 2011. A m o n g mass market brands, MINI ranks highest for a second consecutive year with a score of 809. MINI performs particularly well in four of the five measures: service quality, service advisor, service facility and vehicle pickup. Also among May 2012

the top five brands in the mass market segment are Buick (805); GMC (803); Chevrolet (801); and Hyundai (791). Of mass market brands, Nissan (which gains 43 points) and Toyota (gains 31 points) achieve the greatest improvements from 2011. J.D. Power has predicted that due to depressed auto sales during the recession, dealer service volumes will continue to decline through 2013 before rebounding. The challenge for automakers will be to maintain high levels of satisfaction once service volumes do rebound. The study identifies specific actions dealerships can take to maintain high levels of satisfaction both through periods of lower service volume and as volume increases: -- Promote online schedulCustomer Satisfaction Turn to Page 34

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Ram to Build North America’s Only OEM Compressed Natural Gas-powered Pickup Ram Truck has announced it will become the only manufacturer in North America to offer a factory-built compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) pickup truck. The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup is designed for fleet and commercial customers and offers cost and emissions benefits, using an abundant, domestically sourced fuel while reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. “Commercial customers are extremely important to Ram Truck,” said Fred Diaz, Ram Truck President and CEO Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico - Chrysler Group LLC. “Adding a hard-working, fully capable CNG-powered truck to the Ram lineup makes a lot of sense - both economically and environmentally.” “Our commercial fleet customers have been asking us to build a CNG powered Ram,” said Peter Grady, Vice President, Network Development and Fleet - Chrysler Group LLC. “These fleets have already developed their own fleet fueling infrastructure for CNG, and are strong proponents of the technology.” The Ram HD CNG is powered by the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 and features both compressed gas storage tanks and an 8-gallon gasoline fuel tank. Canadian

customers can opt for a 35-gallon gasoline tank. “Compressed natural gas is a widely accepted fuel in the U.S., Europe and Asia,” said Robert E. (Bob) Lee, Vice President and Head of Engine and Electrified Propulsion Engineering -Chrysler Group LLC. “As a fuel, CNG is readily available, well-suited to run in our 5.7-liter HEMI engine and is cleanburning with a low environmental impact. In fact, CNG demonstrates a reduction of 70 to 90 percent of smogproducing pollutants and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.” The Ram’s 5.7-liter HEMI bi-fuel engine has been modified to run on compressed natural gas as well as gasoline. Redesigned cylinder heads with specifically designed CNG compatible valves and valve-seat materials allow the engine to burn both fuels. It also gets a second, CNG-specific fuel rail and set of injectors. New spark plugs improve combustion and durability, and a new powertrain control module allows the HEMI to seamlessly operate on either of the two fuel sources. The Ram 2500 CNG system was fully engineered and tested by Chrysler Group and assembled at the company’s Heavy Duty truck plant in Saltillo, Mexico.

In use, the system is automatic; eliminating operator switches altogether and utilizes either CNG or gasoline, transitioning from one to the other with little discernible difference in operation or capability. Although a small amount of gasoline is used during engine startup, the Ram CNG runs exclusively on compressed natural gas. If the CNG tanks are emptied, the vehicle will automatically switch to gasoline. In addition to a conventional gasoline fuel gauge, a second CNG-specific gauge sits adjacent to it in the instrument cluster. CNG-only range is estimated to be 255 miles, while the backup supply of gasoline extends the range to 367 total miles. The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG’s two ultra-strong 4.6 cu.-ft. (130-liter) CNG tanks are located in the forward portion of the Ram’s 8-foot pickup bed. Both tanks are mounted to the frame and covered by a painted 50 ksi highstrength steel cover. The CNG filler connection is located next to the gasoline fuel neck, accessed through the Ram’s fuel filler door. The CNG tanks provide a gasoline Ram CNG Please Turn to Page 28

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May 2012

All-New Yaris Sized Right for Fun and Function With the right size for drivers who need an agile and functional vehicle, the all-new 2012 Toyota Yaris Liftback offers sporty styling, outstanding safety features and improved fuel economy. “There is a lot of excitement in the subcompact category today, but the all-new 2012 Toyota Yaris is at the top of the list when it comes to combining value and fuel efficiency with style and fun,” said Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager Bob Carter. “Today’s young, price-conscious shoppers want the complete package that the new Yaris offers: room for their friends and gear, along with a strong list of standard convenience and safety features.” The all-new Yaris features a remarkable attention to detail in the design and engineering of the vehicle. From its smart, interior design and quiet, refined passenger cabin to its responsive driving dynamics, the 2012 Yaris answers car-shoppers’ demands for a nocompromise vehicle. Liftback for Today’s Lifestyles Today, liftback body styles dominate the subcompact vehicle segment, preferred by 70 percent of new retail car buyers in this category. The new Yaris Liftback has been completely redesigned for 2012, featuring a more sporty, aggressive look. The wheelbase has been lengthened by two inches, to 98.8 inches, with the overall length of the vehicle growing by 2.9 inches, to 153.5 inches. The height of the new Yaris is also reduced by 0.6 inches for a stance that is both lower and longer. The result is up to 68 percent more cargo room along with additional headroom and passenger volume, all within a highly aerodynamic body yielding a 0.30 coefficient of drag. The 2012 Yaris is equally at home

The all-new Yaris features a remarkable attencityand traffic, heading tionnavigating to detail inthrough the design engineering.

to the mall or hitting the highway for a road trip. With a tight turning circle and quick, responsive steering, the new Yaris is easy to maneuver on crowded streets and parks in tight spots. Emphasis on Driving and Performance The all-new Yaris was designed for fun and functionality. Both three-door and five-door models are powered by a 1.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder DOHC engine equipped with variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i), producing 106 hp at 6,000 rpm and 103 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. The broad torque curve provides plenty of response for both manual transmission and automatic transmission vehicles. May 2012

All Yaris L, LE and SE models are available with a new four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, featuring a more compact, lighter-weight design and reduced friction for greater fuel efficiency. A smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission is available on L and SE models only. For the all-new Yaris, both the front MacPherson-strut and rear torsion-beam suspension have been tuned to deliver a better ride and improved driving feel. The front stabilizer bar has been increased to 24.2 mm (0.95 in.). Standard tire sizes are increased as well to 15-inch on L and LE versions, and 16-inch on the SE. Comprehensive List of Standard Features In addition to its many safety features, all Yaris models are well equipped with popular comfort, convenience and technology features. Starting with the Yaris L, all models include standard electric power steering, power-assisted ventilated front disc brakes, power door locks and Cold Weather Package. Other standard features include air conditioning, six cup and bottle holders, and storage cover for the cargo area. Halogen headlamps and intermittent front windshield wiper are also standard. All models also feature full audio connectivity via USB and auxiliary ports, along with a standard AM/FM/CD player with MP3 and WMA playback compatibility. LE and SE models feature an audio system with HD radio, six speakers and Bluetooth music streaming technology. The Yaris LE includes standard power windows with driver’s auto-down, Yaris Please Turn to Page 30 Southern Automotive Journal


Infiniti Launches National Certified Collision Repair Network Infiniti today launched a new nationwide Infiniti Certified Collision Repair Network, a dynamic, comprehensive program designed to recognize and distinguish body shops that meet or exceed standards for repair work, training, equipment and delivery of Infiniti customer service. The new certification program is open to both Infiniti retailer-owned and independent collision shops. “The purpose of the certification program is to provide the resources to help ensure consistency of the repair of Infiniti vehicles on a national basis,” said Carnie Colliver, senior manager, Parts and Service, Infiniti Americas. “Each Infiniti owner that comes into these certified facilities presents additional faceto-face opportunities to reinforce the Infiniti Total Ownership Experience.” The certification program will be conducted in conjunction with DuPont Performance Coatings (DPC), which

will assist in the implementation of the program’s certification process, and ICAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, which will conduct technician training. “Facilities that have the willingness to participate in this program must have the commitment to achieve higher standards in the collision repair industry. This program will be a platform to satisfy all aspects of their customers’ automotive service needs,” said Colliver. Infiniti Certified Collision Repair Facilities will be able to distinguish their facility from non-Certified repairers, by an ever expanding marketing package including but not limited to: -- A shop plaque acknowledging to customers the facility is a member of the Infiniti Collision Repair Network and recognized as meeting th requirements set forth by Infiniti -- Customer marketing materi-

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als explaining the benefits of using the certified shop network for repairs and the use of OEM collision parts -- Exclusive website for Infiniti Certified Collision Repair Facilities to obtain program and technical information -- Infiniti owner awareness marketing initiative -- Shop locator for owners to identify Certified shops in their area “The overriding goal is to provide a better customer experience - with an assurance of safety through the repair process and facility standardization, and the financial preservation of the vehicle to help minimize diminished value after collision repairs,” added Colliver. “Certified network collision repair facilities will deliver a professional relationship consistent with the Infiniti brand - and enjoy the added prestige of being recognized by Infiniti as meeting our stringent factory standards.”n


email email

Parts Managers - We Buy Obsolete NISSAN Parts - Call Jon 14

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May 2012


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tems which are mounted only on the intake port), similar to the system used of just 0.31. on the flagship Nissan Maxima. Using “Design and engineering came a CVTC on the outlet port increases together in an extraordinary collaborathermal efficiency, decreases inhalation tion to create a level of sophistication resistance and offers an approximate that you not only see but also feel,” four percent improvement in fuel effiadds Castignetti. “It helps prociency. vide a sense of ‘modern value’ The new 1.6-liter engine is that goes far beyond the mere rated at 109 horsepower @ 6,000 purchase price, much like you rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque @ expect from larger, more expen4,400 rpm. sive sedans.” The Versa Sedan is available with a 5-speed manual transmisNext-Generation Efficiency sion (1.6 S model only) and with and an All-New V Platform a next-generation Xtronic CVT™ One of the biggest chaltransmission. The CVT allows conlenges in designing a compact tinuous change of the transmissedan, of course, is where to put sion gear ratio by connecting the everything – people, two pulleys with a metalcargo, engine, translic belt and changing mission and other their diameter by using “The new Versa Sedan proves that when it comes to packaging and mechanical compohydraulic pressure. The aerodynamic efficiency, not all small sedans are created equal,” nents. Often the solunew CVT design adds an Al Castignetti, tion is to gather a fracauxiliary gearbox using VP and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, tion of an inch here, a planetary gearing, helpInc. fraction there and hope ing improve efficiency. they add up to a usable The CVT also feabenefit. For the new Versa Sedan, the tures a transmission ratio of 7.3:1, approach was a little more radical which is broader than those of conven– create a totally new global platform tional CVTs and even typical 7-speed and drivetrain, reducing the size of automatic transmissions. Friction is engine and transmission, reducing reduced by about 30 percent, weight the number of component parts and by about 13 percent and overall size by reducing platform weight. about 10 percent versus the previous “It’s unusual to develop a totally Versa Sedan CVT design. new platform for a vehicle in only its “The result of all these enhancesecond generation, yet when drivments and advances is that the new en by a culture of innovation, such Versa Sedan engine burns cleaner and investments are easy to make,” explains beautifully balances excellent environuses less fuel, which combined with the Castignetti. mental performance, responsive power improved CVT performance and betThe 2012 Versa Sedan’s all-new and smooth, quiet operation.” ter aerodynamics reduces overall fuel front-wheel drive global “V” platform, The second-generation 1.6-liter consumption by about five miles per designated “V” for Versatile, utilizes HR16DE 4-cylinder engine includes a gallon versus the 2011 Versa Sedan,” says nearly 20 percent fewer platform comrange of cutting-edge technologies, Castignetti. “Better mileage means fewer ponents and weighs around 150 pounds making it one of the most advanced stops at the pump – and more ‘room in less than the previous “B” platform. powerplants in class. The dual injecthe wallet’ for other activities.” While retaining the same 102.4-inch tor system allows a wider injection of Fuel economy for the 2012 Versa wheelbase and 66.7-inch width as the fuel, with the smaller nozzles delivering Sedan is estimated at 30 mpg City, 37 previous generation Versa Sedan, the a finer spray (approximately 57 permpg Highway and 33 mpg Combined new model is 1.2 inches lower in height cent finer than the previous generation with the CVT transmission (27/36/30 (59.6 inches) and 0.6 inches shorter in single injector design’s particle size) to mpg with the 5-speed manual transmisoverall length (175.4 inches). The bighelp achieve stable combustion. sion) (preliminary estimates). gest dimensional gain, however, is in The new compact, lighter weight In addition, the new Versa will be the visible gain in trunk length – proengine also utilizes a twin Continuously the first Nissan model in the United vided by a more compact engine/transVariable Timing Control (CVTC) system States branded with the PUREDRIVE desmission design that allows for a 2.7-inch mounted on both intake and exhaust ignation. PUREDRIVE will be used on increase in rear overhang (the distance ports (versus conventional CVTC sysmodels utilizing Nissan’s most advanced

Nissan Versa From Page 8


Southern Automotive Journal

from the center of the rear tire to the rear bumper). “The new Versa Sedan proves that when it comes to packaging and aerodynamic efficiency, not all small sedans are created equal,” says Castignetti. “The same can be said of the engine, which

May 2012

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"Two" Close "Two" Call at Atlanta International Auto Show

2012 Subaru BRZ There’s a first time for everything and for the first time the Best In Show award at the Atlanta International Auto Show was too close to call. Among several “Peach Awards” given out annually at the Atlanta show by the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association (GAAMA), the Best in Show competition resulted in a tie. Thirty-three automotive lines exhibited their vehicles at the Atlanta show during it’s 30th anniversary and the 2012 Subaru BRZ and the 2013 Cadillac ATS were both judged to exhibit all the required criteria - and more - to be considered winners. The judges, made up of six highly recognized automotive journalists debated the merits of both vehicles for hours before admitting they were deadlocked. The decision was made to award both cars the Best in Show honor. The criteria used to determine the Best in Show award included overall design, functionality and impact on the auto industry among new 2012/2013 vehicles. While each car demonstrated


is a demonstration of the much needed turnaround for GM. If the delivery matches the promise it will be a legitimate challenge to import sport sedans like BMW 3 series." He added, "The Subaru BRZ is reintroducing a small, affordable, rear-drive sports coupe to the market, something that has been missing for upwards of a decade. A small engine, light weight, and competition-adaptable chassis make this a car that many enthusiasts have been salivating over since it was introduced months ago." "The Subaru BRZ is a great driver's car," said Judge Wojtek Wysocki, freelance automotive journalist, "a great sports car with elegant control, engaging feedback and enlightening limits."

2013 Cadillac ATS 2013 Cadillac ATS distinctive characteristics, the judges determined both met all the criteria to be judged the best of the best in Atlanta. GAAMA Peach Award Judge, Christopher W. Lawrence, CEO, AutoAcademics, said "The Cadillac ATS Southern Automotive Journal,Inc. P.O. Box 675097 Marietta, Ga 30006-0009 (770) 321-9920 E-Mail Volume 16 Issue No. 5

Jim Tucker Publisher Michele Tucker Editor

GAAMA judges also selected the 2012 Toyota Prius C as the Best Green Vehicle. "Green is the new black in car fashion" said Judge Pricilla Rivere, Owner, Peach Awards Please Turn to Page 23

Contributors Dennis Martin Ami Vonesh Joyce Ethridge Russ Heaps Michael Winters

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.


Southern Automotive Journal

May 2012

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Produces 500,000th Vehicle Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) celebrated production of the 500,000th vehicle at the West Point, Ga. automobile manufacturing facility. KMMG began mass production of the Kia Sorento CUV on Nov. 16, 2009, a vehicle that quickly became the brand’s best-selling product in the U.S. Then, on Sept. 2, 2011, KMMG began production of the Kia Optima mid-size sedan, a vehicle that led the brand’s U.S. sales in December 2011 and January.

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Since opening, KMMG has added two additional shifts of production with more than 3,000 team members hired by the plant to date. In 2011, KMMG completed a $100 million expansion that pushed the plant’s total capacity to 360,000 units per year. Vehicle number 500,000 was a snow white pearl Optima SX and will now be allocated to one of KMA’s more than 755 dealerships nationwide.n

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Social Media and Mobile Help Car Owners Save Time and Money at The growing population of DIYers seeking answers to their auto repair problems is increasingly turning to social media: today reported that nearly 80,000 consumer repair questions have been answered by individuals at Auto Answers,’s online and mobile repair community. Additionally, according to a recent survey(1) of the community, these answers are saving car owners time and money: 72% report that the Auto Answers community has helped them save time and money on auto repair, with 70% of survey respondents saying it saved them over $100 on repairing their vehicle. “DIYers are doing more of their own auto repairs, and a tough economy is also leading more, who have never done so before, to attempt their own repairs(2),” said Brian Hafer, VP of Marketing at “We’re finding that these DIYers are now turning to social media and on-the-go mobile apps to hunt down the answers to their questions -- as evidenced by the growth of our Auto Answers community, which is a uniquely empowering tool providing thousands and thousands of car owners with useful, actionable, time- and money-saving advice every week.” Auto Answers, including its on-thego version, AutoDoc on AutoMD mobile, enables auto experts and individuals to provide answers to consumer repair questions, and makes it easy for car owners to search for community-generated solutions to vehicle problems. Car owners can drill down to question and answer categories specific to their issues and their vehicle make, and they can also search by repair question or repair issue. A popular new AutoMD mobile feature (87% surveyed found it useful) enables car owners to take a picture or a video from home, or on the road, of their vehicle problem on their iPhone, post it, along with their question to the community, and then receive an alert when an answer has posted. “Getting help diagnosing a problem with my vehicle” (70%), “getting

help/info so I can do the repair myself” (58%), and “making sure I am not paying too much for a repair” (30%) were the top three reasons cited by survey takers for going social/mobile for advice at Auto Answers. User testimonials illustrate the unique benefits of having an online social community on your side. For instance, one user reported being told by a dealer that, “I would need a new fuel tank for my car and that it would cost $900.00. After I posted the problem on AutoMD, I received an answer within 24 hours. All that was wrong with my car was that the vent was clogged in the fuel tank. My husband was able to get the junk out of the vent and I was able to put fuel in my gas tank again. Thank you AutoMD for saving me a lot

of money for a very costly repair that was not necessary.” The community has attracted hundreds of auto repair experts and enthusiasts, many of who have joined the community just to provide advice. In fact, 18% of survey respondents said they visit Auto Answers for that reason alone. For example, one survey respondent said, “since I’m a retired ASE mechanic and those on AutoMD are also mechanics, we trade secrets of the automotive world to help those struggling to save money. Since the dealership labor rate has increased to anywhere from $87.00 to $95.00 an hour, and parts have also become much more expensive, I feel that my knowledge, and the knowledge of others like me, can help struggling folks save hard earned money.”n or (i need oem parts)

Check out our NEW Website for - Association Information • OEM Repair Information • News and Trends • Back Issues

May 2012

Southern Automotive Journal


Toyota Donates $100,000 to Tornado Relief Efforts American Red Cross and Other Non Profit Organizations to Receive Funds Toyota recently announced a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross and other nonprofit organizations to support relief efforts for victims of the recent outbreak of tornados in the Southern and Midwestern regions of the United States. Toyota will also match employee contributions made to the American Red Cross and other nonprofits doing relief and recovery work in affected communities. The donation is intended to provide aid and assistance for families and

communities devastated by the recent tragedy. Funds will be divided among the American Red Cross and other nonprofits to be identified at a later date and used to assist those organizations with disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts. Steve St. Angelo, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), Inc., said, “When a disaster such as this occurs, we have to come together and do our part to help our neighbors.

We express our sincere condolences to the families and communities affected. Thanks to the generosity of our team members who are volunteering their personal time and donations, Toyota’s giving will go even further to help families and neighborhoods in need.” Last year, in May 2011, Toyota and its North American employees donated $1 million dollars to the American Red Cross for tornado relief efforts in all affected states and regions across the country.n

Ford Provides Up to $100,000 to Help Tornado Victims In the wake of recent tornadoes, Ford Motor Company Fund is donating $75,000 to the American Red Cross and its chapters, as well as the Dare to Care Food Bank in Louisville to assist with disaster relief primarily in southern Indiana, and northern and eastern Kentucky. With matching employee donations, total contributions are expected to reach $100,000.


Southern Automotive Journal

Some of the funds also will support relief efforts in other areas impacted by the tornadoes, including southern Ohio where Sharonville Plant employees are volunteering their time to assist with rebuilding efforts. “Our hearts go out to our neighbors in the wake of these destructive tornadoes,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community

May 2012

Services. “We are ready to help those impacted by this tragedy.” The American Red Cross and Ford have been active partners for more than 30 years. Ford’s support of the Dare to Care Food Bank includes the recent donation of a refrigerated F-550 truck through its Partnership for Hunger Relief with Newman’s Own and Feeding America.n, "and these days almost every manufacturer is pushing for the green line. We can't deny that Toyota's introduction of the new members of the Prius family is a job well done. Starting at less that $19,000 this Prius C makes hybrid technology, offering up to 53 miles per gallon, affordable for almost any family income." The 2012 Ford Escape was awarded the Best Truck/SUV and the 2013 Ford Fusion won the Best 2012/2013 Vehicle (which met criteria relating to the model showing the most advancement in design or improvements over the previous year’s model.) "Basic functionality does not cut it alone anymore. Buyers want fuel efficiency, leg and head room, cargo capacity, technology, AND style, all for a base price of around $20k. The 2013 Ford Fusion offers all of these and more," commented Chris Lawrence. The 2013 Dodge Dart was awarded the Most Significant Vehicle determined to be the vehicle with the potential to be the most important to the manufacturer in future direction and/or sales. Judge Bob Jackson, CBS Radio, said, "We selected the Dodge Dart as Most Significant because it’s the latest in a new breed of cars that are significantly changing the automobile as we knew it….vehicles that offer smaller footprints yet come with greater content and better mileage. The fact that the new Dart does all this at such a compelling price point just made the choice that much easier." The journalists serving as judges this year were Christopher W. Lawrence, CEO, AutoAcademics; Greg Morris, Creator, Bumper2Bumpertv; Pricilla Rivere, Owner,; Bob Jackson, Editor, "On The Street" Automotive webpage, CBS Radio; Valencia Goodman, Producer and host, Chicks Can Fix Cars Too; Wojtek Wysocki, Freelance Automotive Journalist Atlanta Automotive Examiner, and facilitated by James Tucker, Publisher, Southern Automotive Journal. The Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association, established in 2008, is a professional organization that brings together print, broadcast media and online journalists, media organizations, corporate communications specialists and public relations professionals involved in the automotive industry. GAMA’s purpose is to provide a platform to bring together the Southeast automotive industry to meet, network and exchange ideas on major issues concerning the industry.n Peach Awards From Page 18

Best Truck/SUV

Best Green Vehicle

2012 Ford Escape

2013 Toyota Prius C

Best 2012/2013 Vehicle

Most Significant Vehicle

2013 Dodge Dart

2013 Ford Fusion

May 2012

Southern Automotive Journal



Southern Automotive Journal

May 2012

PartsTrader, State Farms Testing New Pricing Model for Parts Procurement by: Michael Winters

Originally built by New Zealand’s largest insurance company IAG for its own use, PartsTrader is gradually finding itself a new home in the United States. Not only does every insurance carrier in New Zealand currently use it, but some insurers in New Zealand in fact refuse estimates that do not contain PartsTraders’s pricing model for parts. Rob Cooper, who created the program in 2003, now works for State Farm; test markets have begun to be set up in Birmingham, AL, Tucson, AZ, and various other markets across the nation. PartsTrader, in short, is a parts procurement tendering system. In New Zealand, for example, a repair facility searches for and downloads the parts required to repair the vehicle and sets how long they want the bidding process to stay open; by default, this is normally 24 hours. The facility’s parts request is posted on the PartsTrader web site, where it is sent to local

dismantlers or new parts franchisers. After the bidding period has ended, should there be no bids, the bidding process can then be opened up to the entire country of New Zealand. At this point, bidding is free game for anyone who wants to enter into the process and submit their bids. This can either be for individual parts or a bulk price. Once closed, the repairer will have the opportunity to review the bids submitted and choose the best package with respect to cost, time to supply, and type of parts (i.e. new or used). They will then select the bid they believe is the best one based on the above criteria. If it is not the most cost effective of the options, they are required to indicate to the insurance appraiser why they chose that package. Once the approval has been granted, the repairer will make the selection and the supplier will be informed that he has won the bid. The supplier then supplies the parts to the repairer, and it is the repairer’s responsibility to pay the supplier.

In New Zealand, the supplier pays PartsTrader a small percentage which is built into the bid price. The repairer gets a mark up percentage, depending on if the parts are new or used; this percentage varies between insurance companies. Since the program went into place, the parts markup has dropped for many shops from 20% to closer to 10%; a 50% reduction in the maximum markup accepted by New Zealand insurers. However, State Farm has notified vendors in the U.S. that there will be no initial cost to suppliers to use the program and that further information on pricing will be provided by PartsTrader. Currently, this is consistent with how the program is operating abroad. Decreasing parts pricing is suspected to be a big part of State Farm’s decision to implement the PartsTrader program in the U.S. And while their representatives have repeatedly stated that they do not

May 2012

Please Turn to Page 33

Southern Automotive Journal


McCarran-Ferguson Repeal for Health Insurers Amendment Passes on House Floor U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-Ariz.) amendment to H.R. 5, Restoring the Application of Antitrust Laws to Health Sector Insurers, passed on the House floor recently. In early 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4626, the Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act, which amended the McCarran-Ferguson Act to provide that 1) nothing in the act shall modify, impair or supersede the operation of any of the antitrust laws with respect to the business of health insurance; and 2) Federal Trade Commission Act prohibi-

tions against using unfair methods of competition shall apply to the business of health insurance without regard to whether such business is carried on for profit. This legislation did not become law. Since 1945, insurance companies have had a "limited" exemption from federal antitrust laws that apply to most other industries assured to them through an act of Congress. The McCarran-Ferguson Act provides that federal antitrust law applies to the "business of insurance" only to the extent that such business is not regulated by

state law. The anti-competitive consequences of McCarran-Ferguson impact both consumers and small businesses that have to deal with insurers. Gosar's amendment to the McCarran-Ferguson Act has an additional limitation that no class action may be heard in a federal or state court on a claim against a health insurer for a violation of the antitrust laws. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) supported H.R. 4626, and supports this latest Gosar amendment passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.n

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Motor Vehicle Safety Provisions in Highway Bills

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade recently held a hearing to discuss the motor vehicle safety provisions in the House and Senate highway bills. Many witnesses expressed concern for overlapping themes that included standards for the use of new technology in vehicles, safety of passengers and importance of accountability for vehicle-related mishaps. Witnesses included the Honorable David Strickland, administrator for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Strickland discussed

the importance of NHTSA having more authority to ensure better safety on America's highways. He said: "The Senate has included several helpful provisions that would strengthen the agency's capabilities. These include: • Increased authority to address safety hazards caused by some imported motor vehicle equipment, • Protection for consumers affected by safety defect or non-compliance recalls from manufacturers who file for bankruptcy, • Increases in the total amount of civil penalties NHTSA can seek for safety related violations.

"Together, these enhanced authorities would permit NHTSA to ensure motor vehicle and equipment safety on a broader basis than we can today. The Senate bill also includes a number of rulemakings that the agency has under way. For example, we published the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for keyless ignition systems last December and expect to issue a final rule in the near future. We are also considering Notices of Proposed Rulemaking for Brake Override and Event Data Recorders and conducting research on Pedal Placement." Highway Bills Please Turn to Page 32

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Volkswagen Group Of America Announces Plans For Further Investment In Tennessee Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) announced recently that it will invest $40 million to build a warehouse in Roane County, Tenn. for distributing domestic auto parts for the Chattanooga-made Passat. The 400,000square-foot facility is expected to open by spring 2013 and will employ up to 45 people by 2016. Addressing the need for increased infrastructure, the facility will begin as a redistribution center to service warehouses and will later expand to include a parts distribution center. The redistribution Master Depot will support the US, Canada and Mexico. The parts distribution operation will improve service parts delivery times to over 100 dealers in the surrounding regions.

“This new facility is exemplary of the commitment that Volkswagen Group of America has to meeting the needs of our dealers and our growing customer base,” said Rawdon Glover Executive Vice President of Aftersales, Volkswagen Group of America. “Our continued investment in the U.S. market affirms that Volkswagen is dedicated to the economic vitalization of the communities where we do business.” “I’m grateful Volkswagen is expanding its presence here in the state and bringing new jobs to Roane County,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, “because projects such as this bring more direct and indirect investments to Tennessee.” Roane County Executive Ron

Woody said of the project announcement, “I couldn’t be more pleased that Volkswagen has chosen Roane County to be the site of their new Southeastern distribution facility. We appreciate VW’s confidence in us and our workforce – and certainly appreciate their investment in our community. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with them for many years to come.” Volkswagen first announced its plans in 2008 to produce a new midsize sedan specifically for the North American consumer at its $1 billion plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Completed in 2011; the plant produces the all-new Passat, and is one of the most advanced and environmentally responsible auto assembly plants in the world.n

Volkswagen Chattanooga To Hire 800 To Meet Growing Demand Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations has announced that the company is creating an additional 800 new jobs at its Tennessee manufacturing facility. The positions are needed as Volkswagen Chattanooga continues to ramp up capacity to meet customer demand for the new U.S.-produced Passat. This comes on top of an announcement earlier this year of 200 additional jobs at the Chattanooga plant, bringing the total new jobs in 2012 to 1,000.

“This is a clear sign that the plant ramp-up has been successful and is a validation that the Passat is of the highest quality,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “Our plant was designed to be flexible in order to respond to market demand and I’m proud that we’ve achieved this so quickly. This is a good day for Volkswagen and for the people of Chattanooga,” Fischer said. The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga currently employs more than 2,700 people, about 2,200 by

Volkswagen and an additional 500 by Aerotek, the company’s staffing partner. “We have made a commitment to this market, both in terms of products and investment. Our original commitment to invest $4 billion into the U.S. market continues to grow, with a parts depot announced last week and now another further commitment to employment here in Chattanooga,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO VW Chattanooga Turn to Page 30

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Ram CNG From Page 12 gallon equivalent (GGE) of 18.2 gallons. GGEs are calculated as having the same energy equivalent as one gallon of gasoline. CNG sold at filling stations in the U.S. is priced in dollars per GGE. A gasoline gallon equivalent of CNG is approximately 14.5 liters at 3600 psi. At current prices, which are generally $1.25 less than the gallon equivalent of gasoline, CNG promises significant cost savings over the life of the truck.

The Ram 2500 CNG retains its heavy-duty capability: competent towing, payload hauling and outstanding acceleration for highway merging and passing. Ram 2500 CNG offers 1,580 lbs. of payload, 4-ft.-8-in. usable bed length and 7,650 lbs. of towing capability. The Ram 2500 is delivered readyto-tow and standard equipment includes the integrated 4- and 7-pin connectors along with a Class IV hitch receiver. The Ram CNG also comes with a trailer brake

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controller with customer-programmable electric or electric-over-hydraulic trailer brake options. Like every Ram 2500 Heavy Duty model, the 2012 Ram CNG’s brake system reflects distinctive advantages, with huge, oversize 14-inch rotors and calipers to match. Front GAWR is rated up to 5,200 lbs. -- ideal for northern climates requiring snow plow attachments. Natural gas is found abundantly in North America and is a common fuel source for large vehicle fleets. CNG comes primarily from underground sources in the U.S. and Canada. It is plentiful and offers lower tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline or diesel fuel. In fact, CNG vehicles emit 20 percent less CO2 than gasoline vehicles - and benefit the environment not only by lowering tailpipe emissions, but also generating fewer greenhouse gasses in fuel production, as well. Also, dedicated NGVs produce, on average, 70 percent less carbon monoxide, 87 percent less non-methane organic gas and 87 percent less NOx than traditional gasoline powered vehicles. CNG is a mature technology that’s available at a lower cost than other alternative fuels. It’s further supported by positive consumer attitudes regarding green products and favorable governmental regulations and policy initiatives. CNG technology is a viable near-term option to lessen transportation system dependence on crude oil. Fleet operators have a number of fueling choices. There are approximately 1,500 CNG fueling locations across the U.S., half of which are accessible to the public. CNG producers are working aggressively to bring more on line every day. “This technology is ready now and offers a viable solution along with number one fleet ‘reason to buy’ which is lower total cost of ownership,” added Grady. “Delivering a factory-built Ram 2500 CNG underscores the importance of commercial and fleet customers to Ram Truck Brand.”n

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Yaris From Page 13 power mirrors, and a remote keyless entry system with Engine Immobilizer. The steering wheel features audio controls, and cruise control is available as an option on the LE. Exterior Styling The bold new design of the 2012 Yaris is longer and lower, with a longer wheelbase. Its assertive presence is visible from all angles, starting with the distinctive protruding front profile with wide headlamps and integrated turn signals. The side profile displays a steeply sloped beltline, and flowing curves that appear to stretch the image of the vehicle. The shoulder lines continue around to the rear, creating a sharp, solid look. Interior Design The interior has been completely redesigned on the new Yaris, providing VW Chattanooga From Page 27 of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “Quite plainly, we need more Passats to meet the market demand and I’m glad that we can respond so quickly by adding staff in Chattanooga,” Browning said. The plant has been working daily overtime to meet the market demand. The additions to the workforce will allow the plant to extend its weekly production capacity while, at the same time, reducing the amount of overtime work for the existing team members. “We promised a world-class work environment when we came to Chattanooga,” said Hans-Herbert Jagla, Executive Vice President of Human Resources. “That commitment, along with our confidence in the market strength of the Passat, allowed us to accelerate the implementation of our 30

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a level of detail not often seen on cars in this price class. The doors close with a smooth, solid feel. Additional soundabsorbing and insulating materials make

The driver experience is heightened with a new tilt three-spoke steering wheel, featuring a thicker grip and a flat-bottom shape to reduce knee interference. The instrument cluster, centermounted in the previous Yaris, is relocated in front of the driver and includes a multi-instrument display with odometer, twin trip meters, clock, outside temperature reading, fuel economy display, average speed and Eco-Driving indicator. Yaris L models feature a one-piece folding rear seat, while LE and SE editions include a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat. The luggage compartment area has been lengthened by 5.7 inches, and widened by 2.1 inches, to increase cargo volume by 64 percent in the 3-door and 68 percent in the 5-door. Cargo capacity with the seat up is 15.3 cu. ft. on the 3door and 15.6 cu. ft. on the 5-door.n

for a quieter ride. Upgraded fabrics and soft-touch dash highlight a more premium, sporty interior. The front seats are now wider, and sculpted to reduce fatigue on long trips. third team. We came to Tennessee with a commitment to hire 2,000 people and we are proud that we are now growing our team to over 3,000.” The plant, the world’s only LEED certified Platinum factory, opened in May of 2011 and builds the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, which was named the Motor Trend Car of the Year and has earned several other distinctions, including being ranked as the “Best Family Car of 2012,” by, the online version of Kelley Blue Book. “Congratulations to Volkswagen and Chattanooga,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. “The partnership between Tennessee and Volkswagen has been beneficial to both and serves as the perfect example of the private sector and the public sector working together,” Haslam said. “These 800 new positions are a combination of production and support May 2012

functions,” said Jagla. “We will use this opportunity to hire many of our current Aerotek contract employees. So, Aerotek will be recruiting to fill full-time contract production positions that will open up as a result. We will also be hiring additional supervisors, quality engineers, and professionals in a number of areas,” Jagla said. Applicants for production positions must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, and have legal authorization to work in the U.S. Interested candidates can apply online with Aerotek at Aerotek will select candidates to move to the assessment process, including practical hands-on testing. Candidates for professional positions like Production Supervisors, Engineers, and IT Specialists should apply online with Volkswagen at www.

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Highway Bills From Page 26

Strickland went on to suggest that there are other areas in which NHTSA would like more authority: "To strengthen our safety mission even further, we would seek additional authority in the following areas: • Authority to require action by used car dealers or rental companies with regard to recalled vehicles, • Clarification of authority over the safety-related aspects of portable electronic devices in vehicles to address the clear and serious distraction hazard they pose, • Clarification of authority over devices external to vehicles that will be essential to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of vehicle-to-vehicle communications in order to realize the enormous safety benefits these systems

may bring, and • Direct appellate review of recall orders to ensure that manufacturers have the opportunity to challenge orders while avoiding lengthy district court trials during which time no recall is in effect to protect consumers." Another witness included Ami Gadhia, a senior policy counsel with Consumers Union (CU), the public policy and advocacy wing of Consumer Reports. She made additional suggestions for the Senate version of the highway bill, including: "First, as CU has discussed since the unintended acceleration concerns arose in 2010, NHTSA should mandate intuitive, clearly labeled transmission shifters in all new cars. If a car is accelerating out of control, our engineers have advised that hitting the brakes and shifting into Neutral is a driver's best strategy. However, the advent of gated and elec-

tronic shifters can make finding Neutral difficult if the driver is in a panic. Shifters should be designed so that a driver can quickly identify the Neutral position and easily shift gears to regain control." Gadhia also suggested: "Regarding distracted driving, NHTSA is currently in the process of finalizing its guidelines for manufacturers regarding "in-car" distractions, such as the streams of textual information that appear on dashboard screens. CU is pleased to see the development of these guidelines. However, to ensure the widest application of these guidelines, CU recommends that the guidelines be incorporated into NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Once made a part of the NCAP, in-car distractions could be evaluated on a star-rating system, like other critical safety features, and consumers could utilize the ratings as they make purchasing decisions."n

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Parts Trade From Page 25

intend to affect the repairer’s margin on parts, if PartsTraders’s bidding system forces pricing down, bottom line parts profit will certainly be impacted. In short, if the discount percentage stays the same, and the price of the part is bid down, that means the profit dollar will be driven down as well. What remains to be seen is how procuring parts from multiple—and possibly unfamiliar— vendors impacts the repair facility efficiency and the cost incurred by the shop waiting for parts. It is also difficult to determine at this point who stands to benefit from this program other than State Farm. The PartsTrader program is essentially designed to force repairers into soliciting bids for all parts on a repair order, which could poten-

tially sacrifice business relationships with their dealer networks and part suppliers of many years. And despite being reported as contributing to a reduction in parts profit in the other countries it currently operates in, it is being favorably pushed by the largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. However, when trialed in Australia, the program was ultimately rejected because of the strong business relationships that existed with the parts dealers mentioned above, coupled with the comparatively lesser use of used parts in that country. But despite the opposition already underway, there are not many options for those repairers already participating in the Select Service program. State Farm secured agreement from the participating shops before the PartsTrader program was announced, effectively ensuring that

the shops agreed to participate. On this end, parts suppliers received a letter from State Farm highlighting this stipulation: “All repairers currently participating in the Select Service program have agreed to use automated replacement parts locating services or application if requested by State Farm, and will be required to use PartsTrader.” Recent meetings conducted by State Farm, such as in Charlotte, NC, advised shops that they were required to use PartsTrader, but that they also had the option to discontinue their participation in the Select Service program if they didn’t want to use the program. But while it remains to be seen what effect PartsTrader will have on the collision repair industry overall, it is certain that State Farm’s implementation of this program will not be without its hurdles.n

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Social Media From Page 7 “Getting help diagnosing a problem with my vehicle” (70%), “getting help/info so I can do the repair myself” (58%), and “making sure I am not paying too much for a repair” (30%) were the top three reasons cited by survey takers for going social/mobile for advice at Auto Answers. User testimonials illustrate the unique benefits of having an online social community on your side. For instance, one user reported being told by a dealer that, “I would need a new Customer Satisfaction From Page 11 ing of service appointments. Customers who schedule a service appointment online are notably more satisfied with the service experience than are customers who call to make an appointment or who drop by the dealership without an appointment. In addition, customers who schedule service online spend $36 more on service per year than do customers who do not make an appointment, and $17 more per year than customers who call to make an appointment. -- Review the technician inspec-

fuel tank for my car and that it would cost $900.00. After I posted the problem on AutoMD, I received an answer within 24 hours. All that was wrong with my car was that the vent was clogged in the fuel tank. My husband was able to get the junk out of the vent and I was able to put fuel in my gas tank again. Thank you AutoMD for saving me a lot of money for a very costly repair that was not necessary.” The community has attracted hundreds of auto repair experts and enthusiasts, many of who have joined the community just to provide advice.

In fact, 18% of survey respondents said they visit Auto Answers for that reason alone. For example, one survey respondent said, “since I’m a retired ASE mechanic and those on AutoMD are also mechanics, we trade secrets of the automotive world to help those struggling to save money. Since the dealership labor rate has increased to anywhere from $87.00 to $95.00 an hour, and parts have also become much more expensive, I feel that my knowledge, and the knowledge of others like me, can help struggling folks save hard earned money.”n

tion report with all service customers. Service customers who indicate the service advisor reviewed the multi-point inspection report with them are significantly more likely to say they “definitely will” return for both paid and warranty service work, compared with customers who didn’t receive a report review. Customers whose service advisor provided a review of the inspection report are also much more likely to say they “definitely will” repurchase or lease the same vehicle make. -- Consider the benefits of implementing complimentary maintenance programs. Not unexpectedly, owners

of vehicles covered by manufacturersponsored maintenance programs are more likely to visit the dealer for service, rather than a non-dealer service facility. These brands also benefit from higher rates of service visit retention after the warranty/complimentary maintenance contract expires, compared with brands without complimentary maintenance programs. The 2012 U.S. CSI Study is based on responses from more than 84,000 owners and lessees of 2007 to 2011 modelyear vehicles. The study was fielded between October and December 2011. n

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