Items filtered by date: August 2011

Michael Antonelli has been appointed to the California/Nevada/Arizona Automotive Wholesalers Association’s (CAWA) Board of Directors representing Vantage Marketing Global, Inc, Grand Island, New York.

He was appointed by Chair of the Board, Mary Davis of NGK Spark Plugs in Sacramento, California. “Mr. Antonelli has served on our Manufacturers Advisory Council with distinction and has a long and diverse career in the automotive industry starting at General Motors and as the founder of Vantage Marketing Global, Inc.” said Ms. Davis. “Mr. Antonelli’s breath of industry experience will be a great addition to the board of directors and we’ll welcome his contributions to the automotive aftermarket industry and its trade Association out west”, said Chair Davis following the appointment.

CAWA is an automotive aftermarket trade association, which represents auto parts jobbers, warehouse distributors, retailers, manufacturers and manufacturer representatives in California, Nevada and Arizona. The Association provides education, legislative, regulatory and business support to the industry and its membership. It is one of the largest trade associations of its kind in the United States and recognized as a leader in the automotive aftermarket industry.

Visit www.cawa.org for more information.

Published in WESTERN NEWS
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 14:36

BASF names Vitor Margaronis Marketing Director

BASF Automotive Refinish announced August 31 that it has named Vitor Margaronis as Marketing Director for BASF Coatings, North America. In his new role, Vitor is responsible for directing the marketing activities of the BASF Automotive Refinish, OEM, Industrial and Commercial Transport Systems businesses.

Vitor comes to the BASF North America Coatings team after a 10-year history that began at BASF in Canada. During his tenure, Vitor has held several management level positions with increasing responsibility in the areas of marketing, finance, logistics operations and project management.

Vitor has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an MBA in Marketing from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

“With his deep understanding of BASF businesses, customers and markets, Vitor is an excellent addition to our team. His varied and diverse experiences across BASF position him well for continued success,” said Juan Carlos Ordonez, Senior Vice President, BASF Coatings North America.

To learn about BASF automotive refinish products, visit us at: www.basfrefinish.com.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes fourth quarter training sessions will begin Oct. 3 and run through Dec. 19, 2011.  Its latest classes will be held nationwide at numerous metropolitan Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes training centers.  Collision repair industry professionals will learn intensive business-building and production-excellence through classroom, web and hands-on settings.

Classes consist of multiple courses designed to increase shop productivity and include numerous sessions on painter certification, AWX® waterborne systems, color adjustment and blending, key performance indicators, accurate estimating and workshop efficiency.

“Sherwin-Williams wants collision repair shops to become lean and green,” said Rod Habel, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Director of Training Operations. “You really can’t become green without first becoming lean and that means minimizing or even eliminating waste.  A number of our sessions introduce concepts that support sustainable practices that should ultimately increase most collision centers’ productivity.”

The upcoming curriculum has a strong emphasis on the company’s breakthrough AWX waterborne coatings technology, while other classes will focus on painting excellence with its other systems.
Further details regarding the 2011 fourth quarter scheduling for training sessions, locations, dates and specific course descriptions include the following:
2011 4th Quarter Training Schedule  

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

For the first time since 2003, the NACE expo will be held somewhere other than Las Vegas. From October 5-8, 2011, NACE will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. As of July, attendee registration for 2011 surpassed double the registration of 2010, a fact largely attributed to the new east-coast location.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

Kathleen Moyer of Rex’s Body Shop and Garage Inc. in Vincennes, IN is very excited that NACE is being held in a new location in 2011 and hopes they continue alternating locations.

Luckily, this is what NACE has announced they intend to do, rotating the expo to different locations around the country in upcoming years in order to attract new attendees.

Though he and his wife attend NACE every other year, Shawn H. Moody of Moody’s Collision Centers in Maine is also happy for the change of scenery, pointing out that Orlando is a more family-friendly environment than Las Vegas, and therefore more likely to attract attendees who can correlate the trip to the expo with a family vacation to Florida. His absence from NACE in the past has often been due to the distance between Maine and Las Vegas, and he likes the idea of toggling the location between the east and west coasts.

Published in NACE & CARS 2011

Walking up to Brian’s Auto Body in Mount Holly, NJ, the first thing that caught my attention was the pictures of cars, wrecked and restored, on the front windows. As I learned from shop manager Tom Riches, the shop often changes these before-and-after pictures which are also displayed inside the lobby as well as in a booklet and on their website. Brian’s customers seem to like seeing their vehicle displayed at the shop. These photos underscore the motto of Brian’s Auto Body: employees should ask themselves if they would be happy with the repairs if it were their own vehicle. According to owner Brian Katz, “providing quick and high-quality repairs is the reason we’re still here.”

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

Brian’s Auto Body employs thirteen auto body specialists. Their workforce is highly trained and professional, and they attempt to keep their workspace clean, functional, and attractive.

The shop is around 12,000 square feet in size, with eight repair bays in the front while the dry booths, prep deck and storage for completed vehicles are all found in the back of the shop. They use two Car-O-Liner vision liner frame racks, an AC machine, MIG welders, a prep deck and a tint system for painting.

Brian’s maintains certifications through ASE, I-Car, Honda, Subaru and Toyota/Lexus. The shop is fully licensed and insured, and they offer a lifetime guarantee on all repairs completed. Each vehicle goes through a quality check before being released to the customer.

Published in Shop Showcase

Some readers will remember that last year I built a Pinewood Derby model car, raced it at SEMA, and took second place. I told myself last year that this year I was going to really stay within the traditional Pinewood Derby build using a single block of wood. A ‘Celebrity Pinewood Derby’ build is what they were calling it. It’s all about having fun and  auctioning off the cars  to benefit Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp. I’m all about charities and fundraising and whatever I can do to give back.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

This year I decided to get creative and came up with a pretty cool design. There are rules in Pinewood Derby racing and building and so “maximum weight limit of this car cannot exceed 24 ounces, overall length shall not exceed 8˝ , overall width of the car shall not exceed 2.75˝ including wheels. The car must have approximately 3/8˝ clearance underneath the body of the car, the car must have 4 wheels, all cars must display at least one HRIA decal on the car.”

The organizers provide a basic pinewood car kit including a block of wood, 4 wheels, and two axles. “The only required component is a piece of the wood block which must be visible on the car. You are not required to use any wheels or axles provided. Any materials may be used for the body of your car.” So that’s cool, but for me, for a Pinewood derby build, I want to stay traditional and use a hand tool to carve it out. To me that’s the fun of building a pinewood derby car.

Published in Rich Evans
Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:14

How to Fix Your Damaged Online Reputation

In an article in July’s Autobody News I wrote about Yelp and how shops have objected to the way this review site seems to perpetuate negative reviews on shops unless they’re members of the premium (paid) user program. If you missed it see www.autobodynews.com and search: Yelp. The question for many shops in this situation is: what can I do about it?

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

Okay, let’s assume your name and the reputation of your shop has been thrown under the bus and now you want to fight back. Maybe it’s a bad review on Yelp, or maybe a disgruntled former employee has trashed you on the Web and posted a collection of half-truths coupled with some outright lies. Or, maybe one of “those customers” that is never be happy is posting negative things online about you and they are beginning to get noticed and starting to affect your business.

Okay, it looks bad and it can be very frustrating, but don’t panic—there are some strategies you can use to defend yourself online and clean up your damaged reputation in the process.

To get started, you can initially do some things on your own that can distance you from the snarky online comments or bad reviews about you and your business. If you have any even rudimentary computer skills, you can help yourself considerably by making the right moves. The basic rule here is always take the high road. Don’t’ respond directly to anything in a negative or combative fashion. If you jump in the mud with your online accusers, than all you’re really doing is adding credibility to their claims.

Published in Ed Attanasio

New car in the shop – front end looks like it ran into a tree. It did! So, what’s it going to take to get it back on the road? Well, it starts with you, the estimator. As an estimator, you need experience, good judgment, diplomatic skills and accurate information.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

As far as experience, judgment and diplomacy go, you either have them or you don’t. I can’t really help you there. But, when it comes to information, that’s a different story. Today, every model year brings innovations: Materials technology, electronic systems, finishes, vehicle drivetrains, steering and suspension… the list goes on.

Can you develop a repair plan just by looking? How about an educated guess, or calling your friend who worked on one of these vehicles once? Sorry, the old ways just don’t work anymore!

Information is the key
But not just any information. You need manufacturer’s information. OE procedures and guidelines are absolutely required to efficiently and effectively repair today’s vehicles. You need it to write a repair plan. Your Parts Manager may need it to order the correct parts the first time. And of course your technicians need OE information to make accurate repairs in the shortest amount of time possible.

Published in Dan Espersen

BK Listings, an internet marketing company that provides industry-specific listings to businesses in the automotive industry, has expanded its services to include everything automotive. BK Listings was founded in early 2010 and is headquartered in Dearborn, MI.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

The company started with 3 employees; a web designer, a programmer, and Owner and Founder Bradley Brennan.

Brennan started BK Listings to offer industry specific and content rich profiles to businesses in the automotive industry and to offer customers an easier way to find the best shops in their area. BK Listings focuses exclusively on the automotive service industry—their motto is “anything and everything automotive.”

“You could never include the type of information you can with us on a Google or Yellow Page ad. They’re too general and don’t let your customers see what they need to see,” said Brennan.

BK Listings allows automotive businesses to list the industry-specific information customers searching for this type of business want to see, such as which insurance companies the shop has a Direct Repair relationship with and a complete list of services provided that distinguish the shop from the competition.

All of this information is searchable by users on BK Listings, so if a shop offers a certain service that people in their area want, customers will be able to search for that service and find that shop with ease.

Published in Company Connections

by Bob Spitz—Management Success

I was talking with a fairly new shop owner the other day about the state of his business and the challenges of getting a new business off the ground. During the talk the subject of insurance adjusters came up.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

This particular owner, like many in the business, has a passion for his art. He is a master painter and does beautiful work. Like many new operators, he has some body techs but he is still the one who does the painting. He has goals. He wants his shop to be the best collision shop in his market and I have no doubt that with his drive he might make it. The reason I say might is due to the fact that he is currently stuck working in the back and trying to run the business which includes writing his own estimates.

He is experiencing his first case of true stress and it is starting to manifest itself in the way he handles people. He looks at adjusters as an enemy who is there to drive him crazy and whittle down his profits to the point where he is not making any money.

I asked him if he provides a space for the adjuster to work while the adjuster is in his shop. His reply was instantaneous and filled with antagonism. “Why should I do that? He is not here to help me!” I knew immediately that he was looking at the adjuster as an adversary and not a potential ally.

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