Autobody News - Items filtered by date: November 2011

Automotive News has reported that General Motors said that it will provide free loaner vehicles to Chevrolet Volt owners to offer "peace of mind" as federal safety regulators investigate fires that have occurred in the plug-in hybrid's battery pack after crash testing.

In a conference call with the media, General Motors executives tried to tamp down growing concerns over the Volt's safety after officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday opened a formal investigation into the risk of fire in Volts that have been involved in severe crashes.

"I believe in the safety of the Volt," said Mark Reuss, GM president of North America. "Our customers' peace of mind is the most important thing. This technology should inspire confidence and pride, not raise any concern or doubt."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it will be opening a formal defect investigation into the risk of fire in Chevy Volts following a serious crash after the agency was able to reproduce the events that led to the initial Volt fire, and had a second car ignite last week.

This past May, NHTSA crashed a Chevy Volt. During that test, the vehicle's battery was damaged and the coolant line was ruptured. When a fire involving the test vehicle occurred more than three weeks after it was crashed, the agency concluded that the damage to the vehicle's lithium-ion battery during the crash test led to the fire.

Many body shops seem to change paint vendors every so often for all kinds of reasons, but Kevin Roe, the owner of 1st Class European Authorized Coachworks in Pompano Beach, Florida has been with DuPont Performance Coatings since 1981 and has no plans to change anything. Why is he such a happy customer and steadfastly loyal to the company?

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

“If it isn’t broken, why fix it?” Roe said. “We started painting cars with DuPont the first day we opened and they have followed through on everything they’ve promised. Sure, we get other paint companies trying to get our business and offering us the world, but I’ve never had any reason to consider a change.”

1st Class is factory certified to repair an impressive array of elite nameplates, including Ferrari, Maserati, Audi, Tesla, Volkswagen, Jaguar and Aston Martin. The shop began working on aluminum-intensive brands starting in 2003 and a year ago they started working exclusively on Ferraris and Maseratis in partnership with Ferrari Maserati of Fort Lauderdale, a local dealership.

With an average ticket of $20,000, you can be certain the owners of these vehicles are highly discerning and expect nothing less than stellar paint jobs each and every time. “These people spend top dollar, so they want it done right,” Roe explained. “We have customers in here who actually use paint gauges to check the thickness of the paint when they pick up their cars. So, it has to be perfect.”

With six locations in California and one in Las Vegas, the Autowest Collision Group paints 600–700 vehicles every month—that’s why it’s important that their equipment be top-notch and cutting-edge in every way. By working on any type of car, but specializing in elite brands like Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Porsche and BMW at some of its select locations, the Autowest Collision Group knows that each paint job has to be not just “good enough” but “the very best.”

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

That’s why Autowest Collision Group recently purchased five Ozone paint booths and several prep stations from, one of the leading manufacturers of automotive paint booths. Autowest has been working with for the past three years and is immensely impressed with its products and their proactive overall approach to customer service.

Alex Astts, 40, is the Regional Manager at Autowest Collision. He was hired by the 24-year-old group in 1994 as a detailer and quickly progressed through the ranks, from prep to dispatching, to estimating, and finally to upper management. Initially, Astts auditioned with some repair work and once he felt confident in the company, he coordinated a large purchase of equipment from them.

You can be the finest painter in the world using top grade paint and the best equipment available, but if your air isn’t dry, clean, or easily accessible, your finished product won’t hold waterborne or solvent paint either.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

“Water is the new way, but the need for good air has never changed. It is now just more evident,” says Tony Larimer, Director of Sales & Marketing for Dan-Am Co., the exclusive independent importer/distributor for SATA Spray Equipment in the USA & Puerto Rico.

SATA Spray Equipment an internationally known company, manufactures a wide range of spray guns, compressed air filters, respirators for worker health protection, hand held dryers, disposable cups and accessories. Also available from Dan-Am Company is their aluminum piping system for compressed air called Dan-Am Air (DAA). The advent of waterborne paint has more and more body shops talking about the importance of clean dry air, but it isn’t a new concept to Larimer and SATA.         “Over the past few years, the trend has turned toward the use of waterborne technologies,” Larimer explained. “Many are switching due to local ordinances or regional VOC rules that have been place in the past couple years and others are switching to waterborne simply for performance advantages. It doesn’t matter if it’s waterborne or solvent, both require clean air. Shops today also have much higher use requirements and need more Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) than in the past. They’re using HVLP guns, supplied air respirators and blow guns to dry the waterborne paint, and all of this necessitates clean dry air.”

As the owner of Icon Collision in Memphis, Tennessee, Tim Russell runs a body shop that fixes approximately 210–230 cars every month, does $6 million in business annually and oversees six busy divisions—including two detailing businesses, a PDR department, a glass division, a retail collision branch and a wholesale body shop. Specializing in high-end luxury vehicles, Icon works with several Memphis-area car dealerships that don’t have their own collision centers, such as Lexus of Memphis, Wolfchase Toyota-Scion, Performance Toyota and Wolfchase Dodge Chrysler Jeep. Russell needed a paint system that will produce top tier paint jobs each and every time, either waterborne or solvent, depending on the job. That’s why he’s pleased to be using both of Pro-Spray’s paint systems—the solvent basecoat and the H2O waterborne basecoat.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

Russell, now 51, worked for sixteen years at a Memphis dealership group running their collision center and servicing their eight dealerships. When the group was sold to a large company, the climate changed rapidly. Russell wasn’t happy with the new corporate environment, so he decided to start his own shop. Icon Collision was opened in 2006 and the business grew at an alarming rate. The shop did $80,000 in sales the first month and doubled that the second month. Today, the business grosses roughly $500,000 every month.

When Russell opened the doors at Icon six years ago, he initially signed with another paint company. “In the end, I left them because their color matches were not accurate enough. We just weren’t able to hit on a lot of the colors. They brought in their managers and it got to where I couldn’t even hit white pearls for Lexus cars anymore and it got embarrassing. So, we started looking around for a better solution.”

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