Items filtered by date: May 2011

The Texas Legislature May 31 passed a measure that requires regulation and approval of property and casualty certificate of insurance forms provided to insureds as proof of coverage.

Insurance agents traditionally have been asked to provide the certificates to insureds and interested parties. As a result agents are often brought into disputes over policy terms and coverages because of language contained in the certificates.

Under Senate Bill 425 only approved certificate of insurance forms may be issued to an insured. It prohibits a property/casualty insurer and agents issuing certificates of insurance or other documents intended to be used as proof of coverage “if the certificate or document alters, amends, or extends the coverage or terms and conditions provided by the insurance policy referenced on the certificate or document.”

Penalties may be determined by the Texas Department of Insurance for noncompliance, and TDI may collect a fee of up $100 for the filing of a new or amended certificate of insurance form.

The legislation was backed by agents’ groups, including the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas.

Other states, including Georgia, have been working on similar bills to regulate insurance certificates within their respective states this year as well.


Challenges—they seem like they’re always coming up. Since I did the Car Warriors TV show, where we were always fighting the clock with only 72 hours to build a complete car, it seems like everybody wants to hit me with a time challenge. My buddy, Diggity Dave, you might know him from the Pimp My Ride TV show, called me up to throw out a challenge.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

Dave backed his 2002 Escalade into a brick wall and ripped about a three inch tear down the right quarter panel. He also hit the rear bumper and tore the right molding. Here’s the real problem: Dave’s got to have his SUV back the following day, which is exactly 24 hours, because he’s got a big meeting for a new movie he’s doing and he can’t show up with his ride damaged.

Now he’s asking to get this fixed in 24 hours (seemingly impossible, right?) so I’m thinking how to create a process that can make this happen in 24 hours. I’ve got to replace the quarter panel, the rear bumper and the molding. To top it off, he says, ‘I’ve got zero budget’ so this is a ‘bro deal.’ I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do and use what I have on the table.

Here are the steps and the processes that I used to beat the clock. You can judge if I was successful. The first thing I decide is ‘no parts,’ we’ve got to fix everything. I see that I need to cut a window—try to keep everything as small as possible—especially to cut and replace a piece with another piece of metal. The metal was actually 20 gauge, so I checked the gauge of metal to make sure I was replacing it exactly.

Published in Rich Evans

Ram Truck owners may now transform their truck into a Mopar®-powered desert racer. Just a little more than one year after Mopar debuted its Ram Runner image vehicle to much acclaim at the 2010 Moab Jeep® Safari, the brand announced details of its new Ram Runner kit for off-road enthusiasts.

“At Mopar, our image vehicles showcase potential directions that we may take and the new Ram Runner kit is a good example,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO, Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “We saw the reception that Ram Runner received last year and quickly moved to offer kits that will allow off-road enthusiasts to transform their stock Ram 1500 into a desert racer.”

The Mopar Ram Runner Kit, developed with successful Baja off-road racer Kent Kroeker, includes the following: Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit, off-road front bumper, off-road front and rear fenders, off-road rear-tire carrier, sport performance hood and cat-back exhaust. Each element of the kit may also be purchased separately.  The street-legal kit may be installed by do-it-yourselfers or in a Ram dealership.

The Mopar Ram Runner Kit is equal to or better than its competitors on a number of fronts. The heavy-duty suspension system can handle practically any abuse the off-road dishes out. Front upper and lower control arms, which are 3 inches longer than production arms, provide added width and allow greater wheel travel over rough dirt trails.

Published in Product News

Jo was a new customer referred by an old-time regular. Her little Kia SUV had a transmission problem that seemed to be getting the best of the transmission shop.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

The story goes that the Kia was constantly in limp mode, and would never shift properly—ever. As always seems to be the case when a simple problem can’t be solved simply, somebody started the diagnostics off in the wrong direction. Little did I know this was a simple problem.

But, as I see it, each and every type of diagnostic work that you do requires a certain step by step procedure that you must follow. Missing a step, or completely overlooking a step, usually means you’re going to miss that simple problem all together. This was no exception.

From what information I could gather the person who diagnosed it at the transmission shop wasn’t the same person who installed it. So after the tech put the last bolt in the transmission, he set the car out front, and told the front office, “Got the transmission in that Kia.”

The front office considered it done, and the call went out for Jo to pick it up. She didn’t make it around the block before she was back at the front counter in a “not-so” pleasant mood. You can just imagine the situation at the counter, not happy I’m sure.

Published in Gonzo Weaver
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 19:45

The Value of Service Repair Information

With the ever changing complexity of today’s vehicles that confront you and your team on a daily basis, access to        manufacturer’s repair information is and will be one of the most important tools you will utilize on a daily basis. Whether you are an Estimator, Manager, Insurance Adjuster, Technician or part of the Production Team, proper repair procedures from the manufacturer will allow you to identify, negotiate and explain key repair plan thought processes. It will also assist and manage critical business Indicators such as cycle times, hours per day, sublet repairs, technician efficiencies, overall productivity and profits.

To view the full text of this article please click HERE.

Many considerations arise when preparing a repair plan for your customers whether they are your Insurance Partners, everyday customers, or Technicians. Issues such as minimal supplements, factory recommendations correct documentation, customer satisfaction and a cost effective repair are only a few issues that one needs to consider.

Questions such as these will confront you or your staff daily.
● Should I section this or replace the entire panel?
● How do I handle this Hybrid?
● What SRS parts do I need to replace after the accident?
● Can we reset the Tire Pressure Monitoring System?
● Does my Technician know how to remove the trim panel on this vehicle?
● Can we repair this suspension here at our shop?

● How can I provide my customers detailed repair documentation if they require it?

Published in Dan Espersen

Current industry trends—and a look ahead at the electric, fuel-efficient and Chinese vehicles that could be showing up in collision shops in the coming years—were the focus of one speaker’s presentation at the recent Women’s Industry Network (WIN) conference.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

Greg Horn, vice president of industry relations for Mitchell International, told about 160 attendees at the WIN event in San Diego, that one positive trend for collision repairers had been the rebound through early this year in the total miles driven by U.S. motorists.

“But we’re starting to see the effect of gas prices impact the miles we drive,” Horn cautioned.

He said that MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks gas purchases at hundreds of U.S. locations, reported in early May that the 4-week average of retail gas demand had dropped for the sixth consecutive time.

“So we’re potentially in for a pretty significant impact as we get to early summer in the reduction of accidents and repairable cars,” Horn said.

He said insurer data indicated an uptick in claims in the third- and fourth-quarters of last year, boosted in part by some extensive hail and storm damage in several regions of the country.

Published in John Yoswick

As an auto body shop owner for over 30 years, I understand total loss vehicles are a part our industry’s day to day business. With the addition of more and more electronic gadgets, gizmos, and the installation of additional air bags it is not unusual to have an insurance company choose to total a vehicle, and retain the auction salvage, rather than roll the dice on the possibility of a multi-thousand dollar supplement and being held responsible for other liability issues. This is usually the standard insurance game plan unless you come across a naive insurance appraiser who does not value his job.

To view the full text of this article please click HERE.

Recently our body shop in Santa Barbara, California, was involved in an insurance claim involving a customer’s 2005 limited edition Scion XB which accidentally ran into a shopping center wall while exiting a shopping mall parking structure. The driver must have experienced one heck of a distraction to cause so much damage to the right front of his vehicle.

Upon closer inspection we discovered the right front frame was kinked enough to require replacement of the frame rail. The engine would need to be removed to install the frame rail which resulted in additional labor placing the car in the total loss category.

While the appraiser was leaving our repair facility he commented his insurance company is very attracted to low mileage fuel-efficient compact vehicles such as this one. Later that day, I went out to the Scion and noticed there was a tag on the windshield stating the vehicle now belonged to the insurance company. I asked myself how this could be when the vehicle owner has not been notified or given information on his options of retaining the vehicle or accepting full retail value from his insurance company.

Published in Walter Danalevich

Many years ago I went through a training program offered by a company called Expansion Consultants, Inc. One of my instructors offered the hypothesis that “any unwanted situation can be resolved with sufficient communication.” He used the expression “universal solvent” to describe how communication can dissolve problems.

To view the full text of this article please click HERE.

I’ve often tested this idea, especially in marketing. At one point I came up with the idea that “any failure to thrive is a combination of not reaching out widely enough, frequently enough or cleverly enough.”

Then one day I spoke to a body shop owner who disproved at least one part of my idea. He had reached out as widely as anyone could in his area. He sent out a piece of promotional literature to 10,000 homes in his area. But he said he had not gotten even one job from that mailing.

Today marketing professionals are focusing on a narrow demographic rather than a wide one. By tracking customer purchases, website searches, and publications read, advertisers target very specific types of prospects.

A collision repair center following this approach would avoid a vast general mailing to all prior customers, and instead focus on specific types like senior citizens, young drivers, parents with children who drive, women who drive specific makes of vehicles, and more.

Published in Tom Franklin

BASF Automotive Refinish today announced that it has named Jeff Wildman as a Regional Manager. He will report directly to Nick Maloof, Central Zone Manager for BASF Automotive Refinish.     

Jeff joined BASF in 1991 as a Sales Representative with the Automotive Refinish Business; located in Chicago, Ill. Wildman has since held numerous sales and marketing roles within BASF Automotive Refinish, including Manager of Operations for Automotive Refinish Technologies (ART) and Most recently, Jeff was a Business Development Manager for BASF’s Central Zone and New Jersey and Philadelphia markets.

Jeff holds a BS in Marketing from Millikin University and an MBA in Business Management from Michigan State University.

“Jeff’s success and diverse experience in his previous roles position him well for success in this endeavor.  We are fortunate to have him as a part of the Central Zone Management Team,” said Maloof.

To learn about BASF automotive refinish products visit us at:

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

In a bid to capture more business from customers who shop online, Allstate Corp. has agreed to buy two popular online insurance sellers—Esurance and the associated site, Answer Financial. Allstate will pay a total price of about $1 billion– $700 million plus the tangible book value of the two firms acquired at close.

Esurance is the third-largest provider of online auto insurance quotes through its website and a 24/7 call center. It sells in 30 states. Over the past five years, Esurance has more than doubled policies in force and grown premiums on average 20 percent per year, according to the company, which advertises heavily. It also sells other personal lines coverages.

Answer Financial provides auto insurance quote comparisons from 20 brand-name auto insurance companies to buyers in all 50 states. The carriers it represents include Esurance, Travelers, Progressive, Safeco, Met Life Auto & Home, Unitrin and The Hartford. In July, it reported having 324,000 policies in force.

Alltstate is buying the firms from White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd., a Bermuda-domiciled financial services holding company with interests in property/casualty insurance and reinsurance, including OneBeacon.

Allstate, which has seen its personal lines business shrink, said the deal lets it expand its service to consumers who prefer to buy direct online rather than through personal agents. It allows it to compete with Progressive and Geico, which have strong web insurance shopping sites.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

The Houston Auto Body Association hosted their first annual Body Shop Owners and Managers Appreciation event at the Cadillac Bar in Houston on May 19 at 7 pm.

The event drew about 150 in attendance according to HABA’s President James Brown. HABA decided to host this event in lieu of their monthly members’ meeting this month in order to show prospective members and local industry people more about the organization and their members’ interests. The event was such a success that the HABA has decided to conduct the event annually.

“The HABA wanted to host this event to show our appreciation to the body shop owners and managers in Houston and the surrounding areas,” said Brown. “We also wanted to provide the opportunity for everyone to see what the HABA was all about in a fun and relaxing atmosphere.”

The association also had six new shops sign up for membership after attending the event.

For more information about the Houton Auto Body Association please visit


New York is well represented by regional and statewide collision associations. The largest is the Centereach, NY-based New York State Auto Collision Technician Association with 1,500-plus members, including small and large shops, industry-related businesses and 10 regional collision-repair associations.

These regional affiliates represent shops in Greater Binghamton; Syracuse; Rochester/Buffalo; the Capital District, in the Albany area; Rome-Utica; Greater Newburgh; and the Hudson Valley.

Another NYSACT affiliate, The Westchester-Putnam-Rockland Auto Body Association, also serves Duchess County and the Bronx. Two others are the Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA) and the Autobody Craftsmen’s Guild covering the five boroughs of New York City.

Founded in 1982, NYSACT is guided by Executive Director Ed Kizenberger and an elected board of directors led by a president, currently Mike Orso, owner of Nick Orso’s Body Shop and Service Center in Syracuse. Staff also includes legal counsel and a legislative lobbyist.

The organization influences and effects state legislation through its lobbyist as well as with grass roots approaches such as members’ letters and e-mails to representatives and other public relations efforts. “We have a full legislative program and enjoy broad-based bipartisan support in both the state assembly and senate in Albany,” explains Kizenberger, with two decades-plus in the collision industry.

Published in David M. Brown

The East bay Chapter of the California Autobody Association will hold its 25th annual golf tournament at the Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord, Ca, on Saturday June 4th.

This is one of the largest fundraising events the association does each year and donations collected go towards supporting local scholarships for students and instructors in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Your entry fee per foursome includes: lunch, 18 Hole of Golf, Golf Cart, Chance for a Raffle Prize, Dinner and Dessert immediately following Tournament.

Prices range from $520 per Foursome for Members ($130 per single) to $620 per Foursome for Non-Members ($155 per single) to Dinner & Raffle Only $35.00 per person.

Any questions please contact: Lisa at 925-699-2031 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. In return for your sponsorship the organization will place your name on a sign at your sponsored hole and announce your name during the dinner.

Sponsorship pricing ranges from $200 for a single hole to $2500 for dinner. More information and registration forms can be found at

Published in WESTERN NEWS

On October 11, 2006, at 6:00 a.m., Martin Nagel was driving his new 2006 Nissan 350Z northbound on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles just as LAPD motorcycle officer Steven Johnson was approaching him in the opposite lanes. At approximately 65 mph, the left front wheel of Nagel’s car fractured, separated from his vehicle, flew over the center divider and struck Johnson’s motorcycle.

Johnson was knocked from his bike and slid approximately 150 feet. He suffered a number of injuries to his knees, hips, arms and back as well as dislocation of two fingers, a broken finger, a right shoulder injury and an intervertebral disc injury.

Nagel had purchased his vehicle from Antelope Valley Nissan. The court established that Antelope Valley Nissan had applied after-market factory chrome to OEM wheels even though they should have known that this application could change the metallurgical properties of the wheels, including their hardness and tensile strength.

Published in WESTERN NEWS

Lion Technology’s upcoming web seminar will quickly get companies up to speed on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new chemical hazard communication rules. In August 2011, OSHA plans to adopt the global harmonization system (GHS) for classifying and labeling chemicals, which will substantially change the existing OSHA Hazcom standards. Under the new rule, employers will need to learn the new chemical classification criteria, replace chemical
labels, use new Safety Data Sheets (SDS) instead of existing MSDSs, and train all employees in the new hazard communication system.

Employers must have a clear understanding of the new “Hazcom rules” as soon as possible to assure company-wide compliance. At this informative, two-hour GHS web seminar, Lion’s OSHA-authorized instructor will teach the regulated industry how the new rules affect their facility and what to do now to assure the timely implementation of a new Hazcom program.

The web seminar will run on June 28, 2011 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET. The fee to connect to the web seminar is $149. Space is limited. Industry professionals wishing to attend can register on Lion Technology’s website, or call 888-546-6511.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

Heavy winter storm activity has taken its toll on motorists and homeowners in the northeastern United States. Pennsylvania-based insurer Harleysville said the effects of severe winter storms over the area in the last few months will hurt its fourth quarter profits.

“We experienced unusually severe winter weather throughout much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, especially in New England and New York,” said CEO Michael Browne, according to Insurance Journal. “The number of events—coupled with their frequency and closeness to one another in time—combined to produce elevated catastrophe and non-catastrophe claims activity throughout commercial and personal lines. We saw an abnormal increase in water damage, ice dams, roof collapses and fire losses in property, automobile claims, and weather-related casualty losses.

“This extreme weather resulted in significant disruption and financial loss for a large number of our policyholders,” he added.

Catastrophe losses will reduce operating income by $0.21 per share. Harleysville said its combined ratio will reflect significant winter losses not meeting the catastrophe definition, as well as 4.5 points of catastrophe losses for the quarter. In the same quarter, one year-ago, Harleysville has statutory combined ratio of 107.8, which included 10 points of catastrophe losses. Both years’ catastrophe losses exceed the company’s long-term average.


Texting while driving laws in New York may get an upgrade in the coming weeks. Senate Republicans have stated they will push legislation that would allow police to stop and ticket motorists solely for texting while driving.

Using a portable electronic device while at the wheel of a moving vehicle in New York is currently a secondary offense, which means that a person can’t be pulled over for using the device alone. Instead, it must be tacked on to another primary offense.

Legislation sponsored by a dozen Republicans, who currently have majority control of that chamber, would upgrade it to a primary offense.

A group of Senate Democrats have also introduced a similar bill. A companion measure is pending in the Assembly.

Please visit for more information.


The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.

The Oklahoma state championships were held in Okmulgee at the end of April, and students from local schools were able to walk away as winners--some with a ride to the national portion of the competition in-hand.

The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities with a written test as well as a race against the clock to diagnose and properly repair intentionally “bugged” vehicles.

Each year, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee is the host for this statewide contest. This year’s contest brought together juniors and seniors from 10 technology centers across Oklahoma.

This year’s first place winning team was from Moore Norman Technology Center in Norman. Students Lathan Springer and Donovan Peters, along with instructor Lee Dow, made up the winning team. They will represent the state in the National Hands-on Finals in June at Ford Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.


Forecasts 13.2 million new units sold in 2011 and 16 million in 2013

Buyers from the 15 million post-recession "newly sub-prime" group could be a $3.2 billion opportunity for original equipment manufacturers

A newly released study by A.T. Kearney forecasts 13.2 million new autos will be sold in the U.S. this year. The study further anticipates an upward trend toward pre-recession levels of about 16 million units by 2013. Since 2007, total new and used pent-up demand has accumulated to 32 million units, of which more than nine million will materialize in the new vehicle market over the next five to seven years. The remaining 23 million units will sell in the used-car market.  The study cautions, however, that the availability of financing, total cost of ownership and the unfolding events in Japan will impact vehicle sales in both markets.

Published in Automaker and Dealers

Although hail that came through central Texas in late April was much appreciated by firefighters fighting fires throughout the state, local auto body repair shops were unexpectedly inundated with work following the storm.

Lines started forming early April 25 at auto repair shops, as thousands of cars in Abilene got hammered with hail on April 23 and 24.

Reports ranged from pea to softball sized hail in the part of the state west of Dallas.

Abilene fireman J. Sanders reported the damage done to his station's SUV to Abilene's KTXS News, including a cracked window, cracked paint, several large dents and it even hit the GPS antenna.

"I parked it under a mesquite tree," Sander told KTXS News, "but the tree is half gone."

Wade Keeling told KTXS News he had already been waiting 4 hours to get broken windows fixed on his truck with no guarantee he would be seen, "It's very frustrating."

Abilene Auto Glass, one of many repair shops in town, estimated they would see more than 400 cars the week following the storm.


The cause of a fire at North Tulsa auto body repair shop remains under investigation after it was sparked at the business on April 20.

Tulsa Fire was dispatched to the shop at 1:30 am on April 20 at 46th Street North and Peoria.

Firefighters were able to contain the non-injury fire from spreading and most of the damage was to the inside of the shop.

A small window had been broken in the building, leading firefighters to believe the cause of the fire may be suspicious.


Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Insurance Commissioner John Doak announced plans to revamp how insurance fraud is investigated and prosecuted in Oklahoma.

“Our two offices are statutorily bound together when it comes to investigating fraud,” Doak said. “By working together, we can improve the investigation and prosecution of those who perpetrate fraud and better protect insurance ratepayers.”

Pruitt and Doak’s offices have begun analyzing how best to coordinate resources and refine the process by which both offices initiate, prepare and complete claimant fraud investigations for prosecution.

The Insurance Department intends to focus on higher-level fraud and other insurance crimes committed by agents and company executives that costs Oklahoma’s ratepayers millions of dollars annually. The Attorney General’s Office will expand prosecutions and investigations of claimant fraud.

“I want to make Oklahoma a dangerous place to be an insurance criminal,” Doak said. “If you are an agent or a company executive who is violating the trust of Oklahoma’s insurance consumers and the laws of this state, you can expect to be investigated and prosecuted by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and the Attorney General’s Office.”


A Plaquemine, LA, insurance agent has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for mail fraud that cost several of his clients nearly $1.4 million.

U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, of Baton Rouge, ordered 67-year-old William J. Coury to report to federal prison on May 29.

Coury will serve an additional two years under the supervision of federal investigators after he completes his 51-month prison term, according to U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr.

The judge also ordered Coury to pay full restitution of $1,375,121.87 to his Jefferson Parish victims, who are listed in court records only by their initials.


Hyundai Motor Co. will invest $173 million in expanding and modifying an engine plant in Alabama starting in 2012, the state said on May 16.

The expansion, which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2012, will allow the plant to make the engine for the small Elantra sedan being produced at the automaker's Montgomery, AL, plant.

This would boost production capacity for the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Kia Sorrento models manufactured at the Kia Motors Corp. assembly plant at West Point, Ga.

"The enhancements to the engine plant will not only increase our engine capacity by 300,000 units per year, it will also provide us the opportunity to implement new manufacturing technologies," Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC CEO Deuk Lim said during a news conference May 16 according to Automotive News.


The Collision Industry Foundation (CIF) is proud to announce its donation of $1,650 to the American Red Cross to benefit the victims of the Japan tsunami from the donations made through the Collision Industry Conference (CIC).

The donations were collected at the CIC meeting held at the Meadowlands Expo Center in New Jersey this past March after industry member Toby Chess suggested a collection for those in need.

"It's always heartwarming to see people, even in these hard times, reach out to help others who have lost so much" said Bill Shaw, President of the CIF Board of Trustees.  

Relief and clean-up efforts are ongoing in Japan due to the catastrophic levels of devastation that resulted from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami back on March 11, 2011.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

The other day I was teaching I-CAR’s workers protection program and I had the techs show me their blowers. I found 3 illegal ones. I asked the question “How much is the OSHA fine for these blowers?” and the production manager stated it was $7000. This was in Arizona, not California, and I inquired if the shop had been fined and his reply was “I read your article and I am in the process of getting OSHA approved blowers.” It made me feel that all this work is worthwhile. Let’s get started on the second installment of the article.

To read or download the full text of this article as a PDF with photos please click HERE.

•Check all extension cords for damage (repaired with electrical tape and broken grounds are a big no no).
•All high voltage boxes labeled with a DANGER Sign
•All outlet covers installed
•Are all energized parts of electrical circuits and equipment guarded against accidental contact by approved cabinets or enclosures?
•Make sure there is a 3 foot barrier marked around all electrical boxes
•Make sure that all in ground pulling pots are flush with surface when not in use.  Most of the time the covers are bent and they are out on the floor, which creates a tripping hazard.

This is a continuation of our article started in April’s Autobody News titled Keenan Autobody Cares About Cars, Charity and the Environment.

Keenan Autobody makes efforts toward using green, not just in their logo, but also in their business practices as part of their effort to protect the environment. Keenan at Middletown, Delaware is the only shop of their eight locations which boasts solar panels, demonstrating Keenan’s efforts to protect the environment.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

Few shops in the country use solar energy to operate, but Keenan opened their Middletown shop in 2009 as a prototype with the hopes of expanding the use of solar power to the rest of their shops in the future. Per Craig Camacho, Marketing Director of Keenan Autobody, “we are in growth mode at the moment and are looking to acquire another shop or two prior to expanding our solar, but yes, we will be moving forward with solar at more of our shops”.

Using 248 solar panels which transfer solar energy into usable electricity, Keenan at Middletown utilizes solar power for 65% of their energy needs. When they are not operating, they resell the recycled energy credits back to the grid. According to Vice President of Keenan Autobody, Michael LeVasseur, “this was not only the right thing to do for the environment but it was also a solid business decision”.

Published in Shop Showcase
Monday, 16 May 2011 19:52

The Good Old Days

The danger in focusing on the past is that we sometimes forget to deal with the present in a productive manner. By this I mean that we want everything to be as is was and keep thinking that things soon will return to the way they were pre-recession.

To read or download the full text of this article as a PDF please click HERE.

I’m not trying to say things won’t return to our past prosperity but we cannot let it control our actions today. I took a look at my shop recently and realized that I was putting off necessary maintenance on almost everything. My mindset was ‘as soon as we get the extra money I will get that done’ or ‘I will buy that extra piece of equipment.’ Without realizing it, I had  put everything on hold.

I was also unconsciously sending a message to my staff that things were much worse that they actually were. This in turn created a trickle down effect that affected the morale of the entire shop. I didn’t realize any of this until I heard some rumors that we were in financial trouble. People had begun to draw their own conclusions because we had tightened up so much.

Yes, we needed to adjust and tighten things up, but we were far from any financial trouble. Other than complaining about my credit lines getting cut nothing I said ever implied that we were in any financial trouble. But simply because we had begun to watch everything and make everyone accountable people drew their own conclusions.

Published in Lee Amaradio

Who benefits the most from direct repair programs? Insurers will tell you the consumer. Repairers will say the insurance company. The consumer has no idea and doesn’t care. They just want their car fixed correctly and quickly.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

In my humble opinion, I believe the shop receives the biggest benefit. The insurance company does benefit but not more than the shops on the program.

Yes, many insurance companies report millions in profit every quarter, but do you really think they make their money by not paying for things such as block, prime and fill or OEM parts? If you believe that, you should do some research before you say it. A wise man once said, “Better to keep your mouth shut and let everyone assume you’re stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Insurers aren’t raking in double-digit profits on the backs of the body shops. Insurance companies capitalize on a marketplace that has shops willing to provide discounts for volume. You wouldn’t do anything different if in a similar position.

Do insurance companies profit from insureds using the direct repair program? Of course they do. Insurers benefit from the reduction in severity and rental car expense, for example. If insurance companies weren’t making money, DRPs wouldn’t exist.

Do the shops make money from participating in a given DRP? You bet. If shops weren’t making money participating in direct repair programs, they wouldn’t be working with that carrier.

Published in Insurance Insider

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) is pleased to announce that the BASF Corporation has stepped up as the first official sponsor of SCRS' 2011 Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series. It is the second year in a row that BASF has been first to commit support to RDE, which will take place in the afternoons on each day of the SEMA Show in Las Vegas this November.

Support of the program makes it possible for SCRS to provide the comprehensive curriculum in the RDE series, which created significant buzz as a highlight of last year's SEMA Show. The resources sponsors provide serve as a foundation for the program, and demonstrate the commitment participating companies have in regard to industry education.

"For over a decade, we have been increasing our support for collision repair educational and improvement programs," explained BASF Manager of OEM and Industry Relations Joe Skurka, whose company is committing to RDE at the Master's level. "We want our customers to thrive, not just survive, and helping provide the tools to make this happen is one of our core strategies. We see both SCRS and the Repairer Driven Education series as viable opportunities to support this strategy."

Giving the industry the knowledge it needs to adapt to its ever-changing marketplace is not only important, but a key to the ongoing health of the profession. "There's absolutely no guarantee that the approach, procedures, business models and products that worked successfully last year will work in the future without understanding the changes taking place in the marketplace," noted SCRS Chairman Aaron Clark. "A strong industry is an industry that adapts to its surroundings, and a fundamental benefit of RDE classes is preparing attendees to succeed in the future with content that focuses on a wide variety of business issues."

Published in SEMA 2014

Kevin Ham looks at his shop—The Body Shop Garage—in rural Woodward, OK, and sees a lifelong dream coming true. While it took almost four years for the 45-year-old body man to get his own shop running, it’s something that he’s wanted to accomplish since he was 16.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

“I’ve just always known I wanted to have my own shop,” said Ham.

Ham has worked for other body shops in the area for the duration of his career and really began making steps towards having his own business in 2007. He bought a building on the end of Main Street from his cousin’s wife’s grandfather and began the lengthy process of getting the shop ready for his business. Ham rewired the entire place, installed better lighting, sandblasted brick pillars and repainted.

During the 3 years it took Ham to refinish the shop he continued to work for another shop in the area and built custom hot rods out of the shop-in-progress.

Woodward is a small town of about 10,000 with only 3 competing repair shops in the area, so buzz that Ham was trying to own his own shop soon started to circulate the town.

Published in Shop Showcase

From the street, Great Bear Auto in Flushing, NY looks like a typical auto body shop, but the shop is anything but typical as I found out after a few minutes of conversation with owner, Audra Fordin. Great Bear Auto has been in the same location for nearly 80 years and has been run by the same family; however—concurrent with Audra’s ownership as its first female owner and operator—the shop’s focus has expanded to include education as well as repairs.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

Great Bear Auto was founded in 1933 at its present location. Four generations of the Fordin family, headed by Oscar Fordin, was involved in the auto salvage yard business and opened the shop when he grew more interested in auto repair. Originally, the family owned many shops in the Queens area, but the rest of the family have sold their shops, leaving only Great Bear which was taken over by his son, Larry, then Oscar’s grandson, Bill, and now, Bill’s daughter, Audra.

Audra has been in the automotive industry for most of her life.  Her professional licenses and certifications include ATTP, NY State Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Inspector, ASE certification and certification in AC Refrigeration. Additionally, Audra serves on the advisory committees for Farmingdale Automotive Technology and GoGreen Auto. She has also received many certificates from Professional Technician’s Seminars.

Published in Shop Showcase

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) is calling on Congress to review implementation and enforcement of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). As many of the nation's waterways hit historic crests, thousands of motor vehicles from Illinois to Mississippi have been submerged under these waters. Now more than ever, it is essential that NMVTIS be fully implemented and the underlying statute enforced to help prevent the unknowing sale of these flood-damaged vehicles.

NMVTIS, a national electronic system that provides consumers with valuable information about a vehicle's condition and history, can play a crucial role in helping ensure that these flood-damaged vehicles are not sold to unsuspecting consumers in the used-car market. "After Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that truckloads of flooded vehicles were being taken out of Louisiana to other states where they were dried out, cleaned, and readied for sale to unsuspecting consumers in states that do not brand flood vehicles", said Michael Wilson CEO of the ARA . "NMVTIS must be fully implemented and utilized now so that similar events are not repeated, and flood damaged motor vehicles can be efficiently tracked before unsuspecting consumers purchase these vehicles", Wilson added.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

Comprised of the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) and the Congress of Automotive Repair & Service (CARS), ASRW is scheduled for Oct. 5-8 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

Housing opened on May 4 for attendees and exhibitors planning to participate in Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW) 2011 in Orlando, Florida this fall.

Housing reservations are made through Hanley Wood, the only official housing provider for ASRW, who has contracted with a variety of properties to provide discounted hotel rooms for attendees and exhibitors in its new east coast location, along with exclusive booking incentives including free Wi-Fi, parking, fitness center and breakfast.

Attendees and exhibitors can reserve their hotel rooms online through, , and or by calling (800) 895-3978 Monday-Friday between 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET.

"This year, attendees and exhibitors will enjoy a wide variety of hotel choices in Orlando," said Lindsay Roberts, ASRW show director. "We've contracted with about 15 properties - all within close proximity of the convention center - with great rates starting as low as $82 per night."

ASRW will provide shuttle service to properties not located within walking distance.

Published in NACE & CARS 2014

The Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee gave its approval on May 3 to House Bill 9, which would impose stricter driving and licensing restrictions for 16- and 17-year-old drivers.

The state currently requires drivers under the age of 18 who are testing for a junior driver's license to have 50 hours of supervised "practical driving experience." The bill would bump up that amount to 65, with at least 10 of those hours being at night and with at least five being in "inclement weather."

The bill would also put passenger restrictions on licensed young motorists. If the bill is ultimately signed into law, these drivers would not be able to have more than one passenger under the age of 18 with them in the car without parental approval.

Passenger restrictions like the one proposed in the bill have been said to help lower crash rates. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the fatal-crash risk with three or more passengers "is about 3 times higher than when a beginner drives alone."

See Background in Previous Story HERE


Language in Florida House Bill 5005, entitled "Deregulations of Professions and Occupations," that would repeal Florida's law requiring the registration of motor vehicle repair shops, the Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council, and the regulation of motor vehicle repair has been omitted in a budget conference report.

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) organized a grassroots effort in Florida to support the current shop registration law. Florida repair shops contacted their legislators in support of keeping the shop registration statute.

The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act was created to assist consumers with matters relating to motor vehicle repair shops. The Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council was established to advise and assist the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in carrying out and reviewing the rules relating to the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act. The law applies to dealers of new and used cars, trucks and motorcycles; garages; service stations; self-employed persons; truck stops; and paint, body, brake, muffler, transmission, mobile repair and glass shops.

If the bill had been passed as was originally drafted, motor vehicle repair facilities would be deregulated. Before 1993, there were approximately 5,500 consumer complaints per year related to automotive repair. Resolutions for these complaints went through the state court system, a two- to three-year expensive process. During fiscal year 2009-2010, there were only 1,743 complaints for the year, a 70 percent decrease since the start of the program. With the Florida population increasing 35 percent during that time, the effective decrease in complaints was actually closer to 80 percent.

The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act is self-funded by the automotive service industry, and helps to offset much of the cost for the call center for all of the motor vehicle related programs. The annual cost of the program for 90 percent of the shops is $50 per year.

There are more than 22,000 auto repair shops in Florida. The program as part of the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act is effective, and successfully arbitrates nearly 70 percent of all complaints within 60 days. ASA supports the Florida legislature's decision to delete these provisions from House Bill 5005.


State Farm said May 9 that it plans to close 10 field offices in Illinois and 14 more in Indiana and Michigan, the insurer's latest cost-cutting move and one expected to save $8 million over five years.

The consolidation could displace hundreds of employees, but none based in the Twin Cities. The Illinois Operations Center in Bloomington will remain open and State Farm's corporate headquarters is not affected.

There are 1,300 employees in the 24 offices, which mainly handle auto and home claims, and State Farm's goal is to retain everyone, said spokeswoman Missy Lundberg. She said some claim representatives will stay put and work from home, but others, particularly in more administrative roles, will be given the option of relocating to one of six remaining Great Lakes Zone offices -- two each in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

full story HERE

Published in Insurance Actions

Porsche is expected to move its North American headquarters, and hundreds of jobs the plant provides the northern Georgia suburb it currently calls home, from Sandy Springs to the old Ford plant site near the Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta.

Porsche is expected to build offices where the plant was demolished and a test track similar to its Porsche Silverstone facility in England.

Fulton County Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards said Hapeville’s mayor and city council have been working hard to fill the plant site and it makes good economic sense for Porsche, with the site’s proximity to the airport and interstate.

“This is just the first step,” Edwards said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “South Fulton has always been misrepresented as a bunch of poor black folks and poor white folks. Other people are finding out that it’s a diamond in the rough.”


Registration for the Society of Collision Repair Specialists' (SCRS) 2011 Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series is open, and is complemented by new enhancements such as the ability to purchase individual sessions, or a full series pass. The sessions will be held on each day of the SEMA Show in the afternoon.

RDE features subject matters geared specifically to collision repair businesses, and will include a high-energy, impactful headline presentation from Afterburner Fighter Pilots on Thursday evening which you won't want to miss.

Following the headline presentation, SCRS will be hosting a special invitation-only reception. Be one of the first 200 to register for an RDE full-series pass prior to October 1st to receive your invitation to the SCRS Afterburner After-Party. The evening event will be held at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 3rd, and will be located in the famed Las Vegas Hilton rooftop Sky Villas. The Sky Villas are almost entirely geared toward the Las Vegas elite, and SCRS has put together an uforgettable evening to share with our RDE attendees. In addition to being recognized as the largest and most luxurious suites in the city, attendees will benefit from remaining on-site at the SCRS headquarter hotel; which translates to no cab lines, and no cab fare, to get to and from the event.

More details on the event can be accessed in the RDE Digital Overview which was recently published by SCRS. This overview contains all information you should need to easily plan your trip to Las Vegas this November.

About SEMA and the SEMA Show: The SEMA Show is a trade show produced by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a nonprofit trade association founded in 1963. Since the first SEMA Show debuted in 1967, the annual event has served as the leading venue bringing together manufacturers and buyers within the automotive specialty equipment industry. Products featured at the SEMA Show include those that enhance the styling, functionality, comfort, convenience and safety of cars and trucks. Additional details available at or, (909) 396-0289

Published in SEMA 2014

BASF Automotive Refinish announced the completion of its annual ColorSource Conference, a three-day interactive conference for single line distributors of BASF refinish paints and coatings. During the conference held April 27 – 30 in Clearwater Beach, FL at the Sand Pearl Resort, BASF re-launched the ColorSource PREMIER Program and shared annual objectives in addition to networking and strategic activities. 

“Gathering all ColorSource PREMIER partners together enables collaboration and development of strategic initiatives for continued market growth,” stated Denise Kingstrom, Strategic Accounts Manager for BASF Automotive Refinish. “It provides an opportunity outside of our day-to-day activities to recognize industry progress, and share best practices.”

ColorSource PREMIER distributors are single‐line BASF distributors that benefit from a unique association with BASF, allowing them a competitive edge. BASF ColorSource PREMIER members distribute only BASF refinish paint products, and are recognized by the company as important strategic partners in the aftermarket automotive refinish industry.

To learn more about becoming a ColorSource PREMIER distributor, please contact Denise Kingstrom at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 248-632-2420.

To learn about BASF refinish products visit us at:


Alabama state laws have scrap yard owner David Hickman dealing with frustrated customers when he tells them that he can’t take their junk cars without a valid title. “Lots of times customers want to argue with us when we tell them they have to have it,” he said to “But that’s the law, we can’t take a car without title.”

As of 2010, people selling cars to scrap have had to have the title in order to sell. This has caused some friction as owners of junk cars often don’t have an official title in their name, either because it’s been lost or because the car was signed over to them by a previous owner, Hickman said.

The requirement has all but killed the auto recycling part of the scrap business, according to Hickman. Hickman isn't the only one feeling the pain; the law has affected every link in the recycling food chain.

Materials from junk cars feed low-level parts dealers and car crushers, which feed auto-shredding operations like Hickman’s. Scrap metal generated by the shredders also feeds mills and manufacturers like SSAB in north Mobile County and Huron Valley Steel Corp. in Anniston.


The Associated Press has reported that the Florida House approved a bill on May 4 that makes it more difficult for injured plaintiffs to win product liability damages from auto makers and other manufacturers.

The measure was approved by a vote of 80-35 and will be sent to Republican Gov. Rick Scott for his signature.

The bill, which the pro-business Scott is expected to sign, neutralizes a 2001 Florida Supreme Court decision against Ford that said evidence of the primary cause of a crash, such as driver error or drunkenness, cannot be introduced in product liability cases.

According to the new law, juries would have to "consider the fault of all persons who contributed to an accident when apportioning damages in a products liability action."

"Not giving the jury all the details, including a critical piece of information about the driver's condition, is unfair and absurd," said Barney Bishop III, president of Associated Industries of Florida, the state's lobby for big business.

"Correcting this inequity will now open the doors to automotive manufacturing companies that previously had not considered Florida as a base of operation," Bishop added.

The legislation on the "crashworthiness doctrine" was the focus of a lobbying duel between trial lawyers who represent injured parties and business interests led by Ford Motor Co.

Under that doctrine, if, for example, "an airbag fails to deploy during an initial collision and the driver subsequently collides with the windshield, the manufacturer may be liable for damages attributable to the second collision caused by the defective airbag," according to a staff analysis.

Democrats have argued the bill would shift medical costs for seriously-injured crash victims to taxpayers and that manufacturers should be held accountable for their mistakes.

"See how much they paid to make sure this happens," state Rep. Richard Steinberg, D-Miami, said in debate, referring to Ford's and other business interests' campaign contributions to Republican lawmakers.

"What this bill says is, if you don't put on a seatbelt, it's your fault," Steinberg added. "But if the seat belt doesn't work, it's not their fault."

But state Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, said the "doomsday scenario" that deserving plaintiffs would go empty-pocketed from the courthouse was unfounded.

"Judges can still make rulings about quality and weight (of evidence)," he said. "We shouldn't shield relevant evidence from juries."

The law overrules the decision in the case of Karen D'Amario, whose then-teenage son was badly burned and lost three limbs when the car he was riding in crashed into a tree and exploded. The driver was killed.

D'Amario alleged her son's injuries were due mostly to the explosion caused by a defective relay switch on a fuel pump. The jury sided with Ford, which argued the switch was fine and blamed the fire on the collision because it ruptured the car's oil pan.

The justices ruled that the jury was confused by evidence that the driver was drunk and speeding, instead of focusing on the product liability allegation. The opinion reversed the jury's verdict and said such evidence should be excluded from future cases that allege "enhanced" injuries.


In April this year Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied the summary judgment motions of several car insurers in a class action alleging they created a sham organization to eliminate competition in the market for repair parts.

The plaintiffs in Perez et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. et al. are California automobile insurance policyholders who allege that defendant car insurers set up the Certified Automotive Parts Association to provide inferior replacement parts in violation of California’s Cartwright Act and Unfair Competition Law. The plaintiffs also allege that the insurers unlawfully conspired to stifle competition in the auto repair market by agreeing to offer exclusively policies that provide inferior repair parts and to exclude other insurance companies.

The original complaint was filed in 2006, and a third amended complaint was filed in November 2010.  Defendants argued that the amended complaint should be dismissed because the plaintiffs did not meet the Twombly standard to establish a conspiracy. Judge Ware disagreed and held that the facts, if taken as true, were sufficient to show that the insurers conspired to eliminate competition for auto parts.

The defendants include State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Geico General Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and Allstate Insurance.

The following legal analysis appears in a Legal blog by Williams Mullen law firm, written by James M. Burns

In late March, a long-simmering antitrust action filed against several auto insurers and the Certified Automotive Parts Association (“CAPA”) in the Northern District of California, in which the defendants are accused of conspiring to promote the use of inferior quality repair parts for insured repairs, was finally cleared to begin discovery by District Court Judge James Ware.  Judge Ware’s ruling in Perez v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance et al, finally permits the plaintiffs’ action to move forward into discovery, a full five years after the case originally was filed and after two prior dismissals of the case by the district court were reversed by the Ninth Circuit.

Unlike Judge Ware’s earlier rulings in the case (that plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to assert their claims -- reversed by the Ninth Circuit in 2009 -- and a subsequent ruling that plaintiffs’ claims fell under the exclusive authority of the Insurance Commissioner, reversed in 2010), the defendants’ most recent motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ action focused on more pedestrian legal theories -- whether plaintiffs’ Third Amended Complaint alleged sufficient facts to satisfy the pleading requirements of the Supreme Court’s Twombly decision and whether the alleged agreement, even if proved, actually constituted a restraint of trade.

Turning first to defendants’ Twombly argument, Judge Ware noted that plaintiffs had alleged that the defendants had “conspired to suppress competition on the basis of the quality of repair parts,” and that the alleged conspiracy had been furthered by “an agreement to create, finance and direct CAPA as a sham organization whose true purpose is to certify inferior-quality parts.” Acknowledging that “at this stage of the litigation, the Court does not determine whether actual proof of these facts is probable,” but only “whether a plaintiff has done more than offer a bare assertion of conspiracy,” Judge Ware ruled that plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged a conspiracy to suppress competition and denied defendants’ Twombly argument.

Next, Judge Ware assessed whether defendants’ alleged agreement, if proved, constituted a restraint of trade under the Cartwright Act, the California antitrust law under which plaintiffs’ action was brought.  (Notably, plaintiffs’ claims were pled under the Cartwright Act, and not the federal antitrust laws, because similar claims – brought by the same plaintiff’s attorney – were found to be McCarran-exempt by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004 in Gilchrist v. State Farm Automobile Insurance).  Judge Ware noted that “the Cartwright Act, like the Sherman Act, makes a conspiracy among competitors to restrict output unlawful per se,” and that “output reduction does not simply refer to the number of units produced, but also involves a qualitative judgment.”  Applying this principle, Judge Ware concluded that plaintiffs’ allegation of an agreement “to restrict output to a product of inferior quality counts as an output restriction,” and thus plaintiffs had stated an actionable antitrust claim under the Cartwright Act.  Accordingly, after five years in the California courts, the case will now proceed into full merits discovery.

Published in WESTERN NEWS


As shop owners and techs know, but consumers usually don't, car maintenance isn't just under the hood. A cracked windshield is a safety risk. It can impair the driver's vision and put passengers at risk.

Most automotive safety experts rank the windshield as the third most important safety component in today's vehicles, behind seatbelts and airbags. Laws require seatbelt use and prevent tampering with airbags, but there are no laws that govern replacement windshield installation.

The Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council (AGRSS) promotes safe auto glass industry standards, which an auto glass technician should follow. Consumers should ask these questions before a replacement windshield installation:

  • Will the old adhesive be removed from the vehicle frame? If the adhesive isn't removed down to the adhesive manufacturer's recommended level, the fit may not be tight and the new adhesive won't bond correctly.
  • Will the technician wear gloves to keep from contaminating the glass? If oil and dirt get on the edges, the new adhesive (called urethane) may not bond correctly.
  • Will the new urethane adhesive stand up to the high deployment pressure of airbags? The best available manufacturer equivalent urethane adhesive should be used, not butyl tape. Ask for adhesive made by Dow, Sika or the original car maker's adhesive supplier.
  • How long does the urethane adhesive need to set until the vehicle can be driven? Every urethane has a "safe drive-away time."


Glass Doctor voluntarily supports the standard glass replacement procedures approved by AGRSS, and Glass Doctor shops offer original equipment manufacturer (OEM) windshields. Only OEM glass can provide the quality necessary to ensure a proper fit, which greatly reduces the safety risks.

For more information, visit

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

This spring will be remembered as one of the wettest seasons on record. In addition to tornado damage, water-damaged vehicles may be flooding car lots, says a report by Arkansas' KTHV.

The Arkansas Attorney General's office is issuing a consumer alert on how to avoid car scams.

"Most of these cars will go onto be sold. A relatively small percentage will actually be junked," says Deputy Attorney General Jim DePriest.

for rest of the story, including video and photos go HERE

Published in Mainstream News Links

The Obama administration considered studying the idea of imposing a tax on vehicle miles driven to raise road repair money, but backed away from the concept Thursday when it was leaked.

The idea was included with a series of new proposed auto safety measures. Congress is considering a six-year reauthorization of the highway bill, a measure that often includes significant auto safety and policy changes.

to read full article go to the Detroit News HERE

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

German auto supplier Bosch said May 5 that it plans to add about 1,000 employees in North America this year as its automotive business continues to grow.  The auto supplier, whose headquarters for North and South America is in Farmington Hills, expects to employ about 23,000 in North America by the end of this year.

Last year, Bosch's North American workforce increased 8% to 22,000 as the company recovered from the Great Recession, said Peter Marks, Bosch's chairman, president and CEO for Bosch's North and South American operations.

to read full article go HERE

Published in Automaker and Dealers

Insurance adjusters, law enforcement officials and prosecutors looked on as W.R.“Rusty” Haight, director of the Collision Safety Institute in San Diego, drove a car head on into another in the paved lot of the Wyman-Gordon Company in Grafton, MA on May 6.

For Mr. Haight, it was just another day at the office. He has staged thousands of crashes and holds the Guinness World Record for most human subject crash tests. In the past, he said he has wrecked 29 vehicles in a matter of seven hours.“This isn't like you see on CSI on television,” he said. “It's a lot more detailed and realistic. It's the way it is in the real world.”Mr. Haight said the staged crashes, done routinely for state police training, are the ultimate, full-scale labs.

to read full story with photo go HERE

Published in Mainstream News Links

The next A-Plus™ EcoLean™ Level 1 workshop from Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes will be held June 22-23 in Toronto.

Sherwin-Williams’ exclusive EcoLean Level 1 workshops are designed to educate attendees about maximizing profitability by improving productivity and eliminating waste throughout their facilities. The program is offered to collision center owners and dealer managers from across Canada and the United States.

“Our EcoLean workshop curriculum is developed with collision shop operators in mind,” notes Bob Leibel, Director of Sales and Operations, Canada for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes.  “We aim to give them a comprehensive look of how they can build a lean culture in their shop from the ground up.”

During the upcoming Toronto EcoLean Level 1 workshop attendees will learn practical processes and useful tips on lean production’s practical application in collision repair and methods to make their collision shops more efficient, productive and profitable.

Published in Corporate News

Owners of the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 can have their choice of eight new custom grilles and six new wheel designs for Chrysler’s flagship sedan.

“Mopar is offering a full menu of grilles and wheels for those looking to customize and personalize their all-new Chrysler 300,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC. “By itself, the Chrysler 300 makes a statement. Our grilles and wheels provide exclamation points. And unlike other aftermarket offerings, our grilles are specifically tested for aero, cooling and thermal, and our wheels are specifically designed and tested for durability and impact.”

Each grille is designed by Chrysler and provides an exact factory fit and finish. The selection includes a 13-bar grille and a diamond-pattern grille, both constructed of billet aluminum. Both grilles are chrome-plated and polished to a high luster. The 13-bar grille features narrow horizontal, 5mm blades patterned within the traditional Chrysler 300 grille shape that first defined the model more than 55 years ago. The diamond-pattern grille features 154 individual diamond shapes and has a high-chrome polish.

Published in Product News

Xirallic® pigments from Merck create glitter and sparkle in automotive coatings and provide a distinct shimmer to enhance color intensity and color purity. Xirallic® pigments are suited for exteriors due to their additional layer, which provides improved weather resistance. The only place where Xirallic is made is in Onahama, Japan, about 45 km from Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima reactor, which was closed soon after the March 11 magnitude 9.0-earthquake. The shutdown of the plant affected many of the world’s auto makers, including Ford., Chrysler, Volkswagen, BMW,  Toyota and GM. Two weeks ago, Chrysler told dealers that the company plants to limit orders for vehicles in 10 different colors that employ Xirallic pigment. Ford had already told dealers it could no longer take orders for F-150 trucks and other models using “tuxedo black” and three shades of red.

The plant will be one of the first Japanese parts facilities that will move elsewhere as a result of the disaster. Germany’s  Merck said May 10 it will shift production of Xirallic pigments from Japan to Germany.

Tsunami and radiation damage forced Merck to halt production in March. Operations at Onahama resumed May 8. Regular production output is expected by June. It will continue until Merck has readied its plant in Germany.

According to The Nikkei, timing and location for the new site have yet to be determined. “Our top priority is to ensure as soon as possible an uninterrupted supply of Xirallic pigments to our customers around the world,” said Peter Halas, Head of the Pigments and Cosmetics unit at Merck.  These parameters no longer fit a plant 35 miles from the Fukushima reactor, and in a town, where tsunami waves as tall as buildings were observed.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

A Los Angeles-based private equity firm has acquired Greenville-based Sage Automotive Interiors, which makes cloth for seating, door panels and headliners for automotive manufacturers. It has offices and production plants in the U.S., Brazil, the United Kingdom, China, Korea and Japan. The Gores Group, which has committed equity capital of more than $4 billion, announced the acquisition on May 9. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sage was formed in September 2009 by former Spartanburg-based Milliken & Co. executives Dirk Pieper and Brian McSharry and the investment firm Azalea Capital, LLC.

For information, visit:

Published in Corporate News
Tuesday, 10 May 2011 15:11

PPG Announces Executive Assignments

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) recently announced the following executive assignments, effective May 1:

  • Gary Danowski, vice president, flat glass, has been named vice president, automotive refinish, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), based at the Rolle, Switzerland, headquarters of PPG Europe and reporting to John Outcalt, vice president, automotive refinish.
  • Richard A. Beuke, vice president, silicas, has been named vice president, flat glass, based at the flat glass business and discovery center in Harmar, Pa., and reporting to J. Rich Alexander, executive vice president, Performance Coatings and Glass.
  • Kevin D. Braun, general manager, architectural coatings, ANZ (Australia and New Zealand), has been named general manager, silica products, based at the Monroeville, Pa., chemicals center and reporting to Richard C. Elias, senior vice president, Optical and Specialty Materials.
  • Johann (John) F. Kolling, director, U.S. taxes, has been named vice president, tax administration, based at the Pittsburgh global headquarters and reporting to Robert J. Dellinger, senior vice president, finance and chief financial officer.

To read full announcement see PPG newsoom HERE

Published in Corporate News

Ford continues to have problems with its top selling F-150. In April the automaker recalled 1.3 M vehicles over a possible short-circuit in model years 2004-2006 F-150s that could cause airbags to deploy unexpectedly. Owners of the recalled vehicles won't begin receiving notices until May, but if an airbag warning light is illuminated, Ford says owners can bring their F-150 into the dealer ASAP for the fix, which requires about a half day.

Now NHTSA is investigating a problem with rusting fuel tank straps that could impact 2.7 million F-150 trucks. NHTSA says it has reviewed around 300 complaints of fuel straps rusting and failing, including two reports of fires. The investigation is looking at model year 1997-2001 F-150 trucks.

The straps hold the truck's fuel tank in place but might corrode and break, causing the tank to tilt and to drop from its proper position, possibly making contact with the road and causing a potentially dangerous fuel leak.

NHTSA says it is "upgrading this investigation to further investigate the frequency, severity and scope of this problem."

NHTSA said there are two reports of fires. In one, leaking fuel ignited, but quickly burned out. In the other incident, Ford said "the leaking fuel ignited and the … fire destroyed the vehicle." No injuries have been reported.

Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood said the company was working with NHTSA. "We are aware of the matter, and we're going to continue to cooperate," he said.

NHTSA said its investigation "yielded information that strongly suggests the subject defect as the cause of the reported problem."

The agency cited that of the incidents reported, 243 involved the fuel tank dropping below the vehicle — with some dragging on the ground. Of those, 95 involved fuel leakage, and nine included reports of sparks from the tank being dragged on the road.

The F-series truck line is the best-selling vehicle line in the United States.


Published in Automaker and Dealers

The Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA) will hold its first Statewide Convention and Industry Exposition May 19-21, co-hosted with SCRS. The event will center around "Focusing on leading change in an ever-changing industry," according to FACA. The event will be held at the Villas of Grand Cypress in Orlando. The event will feature an exposition on May 19, noon-9 p.m., May 20, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Browse products and services from suppliers serving the collision repair industry in Florida. A reception will be held the evening of May 19 outside the expo hall on a two-tiered veranda overlooking a golf course.

On May 20, special forums will feature CAPA Executive Director Jack Gillis, motivational speaker John Outlaw and the Rubin Group (lobbyists).

The event will feature a special class co-hosted by FACA and SCRS: "Improving Workshop Efficiency/Lean Production Applied to Collision Repair." Visit to register for this class being given on May 19 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The cost of class is $225 for FACA and SCRS members, and $295 for non-members.

For more information see the FACA website HERE


Headline speaker Patrick "Lips" Houlahan of Afterburner Incorporated brings his high-energy, multimedia keynote to RDE, unleashing the power of Flawless Execution(sm) to those in attendance.

Last year's SEMA Show marked the debut of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists' (SCRS) advantageous Repair Driven Education (RDE) curriculum, which created industry buzz over the two days of educational offerings targeted specifically for the modern-day collision repair professional.

"The positive response we received from our attendees, speakers and SEMA Show management regarding our RDE series were very gratifying for our group," noted SCRS Chairman Aaron Clark. "We were excited to have delivered what was perceived as a tremendous program for the industry in our inaugural year, and have worked hard since to harness the lessons we learned from the event to further amplify the program and offerings for 2011."

The 2011 RDE program has expanded into all 4 days of the SEMA Show, and will feature time slots in the afternoons, complemented by I-CAR educational offerings in the morning. In addition to the full suite of regular session courses featuring some of the most prominent and sought-after subject matter experts, SCRS has added an evening headline presentation that is guaranteed to hit home with its attendees.

"SCRS certainly is in touch with the fact that many in our membership base are overwhelmed by the pressures our industry faces today, more than ever in the past," stated SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg." Shops today are forced to make decisions on a daily basis that impact both their shop and their market; and frankly, many of them feel the fatigue of fighting for their businesses on a daily basis. We wanted to bring in a speaker who we felt could help, could relate to that environment, and who could bring tangible guidance to the shops in a way that would both engage and entertain our audience, while giving them tools and knowledge they can implement in their business as soon as they return home from the show."

Published in SEMA 2014

The California Senate Insurance Committee has blocked SB 631, a restitution bill that would give explicit authority to the California Insurance Commissioner to order restitution as part of an enforcement action against an insurance company, as of May 9.

The insurance agent and broker community opposed Senate Bill 631, arguing it would have given the commissioner "unprecedented new powers to punish broker-agents and other licensees ‘in all instances’ where he finds any violation of the California Insurance Code,’" according to Insurance Brokers and Agents of the West. According to Sen. Noreen Evans, who sponsored the bill, existing law permits the commissioner to order restitution in some circumstances, Commissioner Dave Jones’ office believed that even when there are legal violations in which Californians are entitled to refunds or restitution, in many circumstances the commissioner had no specific authority to order refunds or restitution under current law.

Published in WESTERN NEWS

The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association held their monthly meeting in the Collision Repair Classroom at Louisiana Technical College in Shreveport, LA on May 3. The meeting was brought to order by President Chris Fielder by reading the anti-trust statement, which is required to begin every NWLCRA meeting. Also hosting the meeting was Secretary-Treasurer Bill Burnside.

The group discussed the recent SkillsUSA Competition and asked for all the local winners that were attending the meeting to stand, introduce themselves and tell a little about themselves. Joshua Taylor is a Senior at Northwood High School and is a Collision Repair student of Caddo Career & Technology Center. Joshua took First Place in the Collision Repair Technology category. He is currently working at Shouse Collision Repair & Frame Center. Jerry Shouse, owner of Shouse Collision Repair & Frame Center, said Joshua is currently working with estimating. Joshua Taylor is going to compete at the National Skills competition.

Hunter Lyman is a Senior at Captain Shreve High School, and is a Collision Repair student of Caddo Career & Technology Center. Hunter took First Place in the Auto Refinish Technology category. He has been working with Red River Chevrolet while at school and has been offered a full-time permanent position with Red River Chevrolet.


In April CCC Information Services Inc. announced the availability of its 2011 Crash Course, titled “Changing Expectations of the Connected Consumer.” In addition to an analysis of traditional market trends, the document developed by CCC Lead Analyst Susanna Gotsch focuses on new technology’s ability to provide transparency to the companies and customers doing business in the auto- physical damage industry. Gotsch has been selected as one of AkzoNobel's most influential women of 2011.

“People’s willingness to be much more transparent as potential customers, means they expect their demands/needs at a minimum will be met,” said Gotsch. “But companies that go beyond simply meeting demands to delight their customers will see their efforts rewarded. A company demonstrating that it knows a customer’s needs/desires, meets them, and exceeds them, is creating an experience that the customer will want to talk about with family and friends. And when a company fails to do any or all of these, the consumer will also talk about it.”

In addition to the Adobe® PDF version of 2011 Crash Course available on the CCC News and Insight page, Gotsch will presented a Crash Course webinar on April 21st.

For more about CCC Information Services Inc. visit

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS
Sunday, 08 May 2011 22:20

Collision shops feeling crunched

Drivers make do or the insurers ‘total’ it, eliminating repair work

Collision repair shops are taking a hit. Today’s automobiles are safer, fuel-efficient and generally more technologically advanced than vehicles built years ago. Those strides have resulted in an array of on-board gadgetry that is costly to replace after a crash. In many cases, insurance companies cut their losses and will designate a vehicle as “totaled.” “There does seem to be more of that than it used to be,” said Terry Larson, owner of Terry Larson Insurance in Huntington. He said when a repair bill is more than a car’s current market value, the insured usually is handed a check for the vehicle’s worth.

to read the rest of the article with photos go HERE

Published in Mainstream News Links

The national average for body and paint labor rates has risen only modestly year-over-year since 2006, according to figures from CCC Information Services. The average body labor rate rose from $41.42 in 2006 to $44.67 in 2010, up an average of 2.1 percent per year (paint labor rates rose similarly). The national average hourly rate for paint materials rose slightly faster, from $22.26 in 2006 to $25.37 in 2010, an average increase of 3.5 percent per year. Overall, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for autobody work rose an average of 3.44 percent per year for that 5-year period. By comparison, the CPI for all products rose an average of 2.2 percent per year. The CPI for auto insurance rose an average of 2.6 percent per year, and the CPI for vehicle parts and equipment (other than tires) rose an average of 3.92 percent per year.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS
Saturday, 07 May 2011 16:50

May 11 E-newsletter

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National News

Painting with Waterborne at John Force Racing

PPG's MVP Spring Conference--Excellent, Entertaining and Informative

Revisiting Paint by Numbers: A Deep Dive Into Refinish Data

State Farm Announces Revised Electronic Parts Ordering for its DRPs


Tom Franklin

Summer Time Means Event Time

By Tom Franklin
Summer time is nearly here and shop owners who are interested in attracting insurance or other referral business may be considering putting on an event...

Toby Chess
Getting OSHA-Compliant on Plans, Protection and Painting
By Toby Chess
As I promised in last month's article, I have put together a checklist to help you get ready for an OSHA inspection...

Walter Danalevich
Is Your Parts Supplier Purchasing Policy a Benefit or an Expense?
By Walter Danalevich
This month let's take a look at parts ordering considerations that will improve your bottom line. Think for a moment of all your...

Insurance Insider

Insurers Will Continue to Serve 'Flavor of the Day' to Shops

By Insurance Insider
In past columns I have explored many different perspectives on the value of direct repair programs. I believe most...


A Day to Reflect--On the Other Side of the Bookstore Counter

By Scott 'Gonzo' Weaver
Sometime ago I had my first book signing at a local bookstore. Steve's Sundry--Books and Magazines...

Shop and Product Showcase

Ed Attanasio

32-Year-Old NJ Body Shop Embraces PPG's Envirobase HP Waterborne Basecoat

By Ed Attanasio
The conversion to waterborne paint in states like New Jersey is a...

Ed Attanasio

Indiana Shop Owner Favors Chief for Quality, Durability and Support

By Ed Attanasio
Jimmy Lefler owns and operates five extremely busy body, mechanical and...

Shop Showcase


Rodi's in Cherry Hill, NJ, Reminds the Customer of their Right to Choose

By Chasidy Rae Sisk
Walking into Rodi's Auto Body in Cherry Hill, NJ on a Saturday morning, the first...

Ed Attanasio
CAA Chapter President Supports In-Shop Education & Training
By Ed Attanasio
Shawn Saidi, 48, owns Active Auto Body in Sunnyvale, Calif., a highly successful shop whose motto is "Making Friends By Accident"...


Published in Latest E-newsletter

Pick A Part, an automobile recycling company headquartered in Phoenix, has announced the expansion of its self-service division with the addition of a new location  at 83rd Avenue and Sherman in Tolleson, Ariz. Pick A Part is a Phoenix auto wrecker who allows customers to remove used auto parts using their own tools after browsing inventory for a 2 dollar entry fee, saying the self service concept ensures the absolute lowest prices (up to 70% off retail).

Pick a Part, which opened in 2006, also has locations Phoenix and Mesa, for a total of three yards. The company claims the largest inventory of used auto parts and auto body parts in Arizona with thousands of of vehicles on site.

Pick A Part says its newest facility will allow the company to meet the growing demand for self-serve auto parts. It also purchases virtually any scrap metal offered.

JSL Management, Phoenix, owns Pick A Part. The company also is the corporate holding company for eight companies in the auto recycling, towing and scrap metal industries.

Published in WESTERN NEWS

Instructor Michael Pellett/Sherwin-Williams “Estimating Solutions for Profit (ESP) Workshop”

CAA San Diego says it is very fortunate to have Michael Pellett, Regional Training Center Manager at the Sherwin-Williams Dallas Automotive Training Center be our instructor for a One-Day Saturday Class. The best way to characterize this class would be this. Everyday shops utilize processes, procedures, and materials to return the car to pre-loss condition and restore the crash worthiness of vehicles they repair. The goal of this class is to help participants recognize those costs of doing business, effectively build them into the estimate, and aggressively negotiate payment for them. We want to maximize the opportunities on each vehicle we repair.

Michael Pellett has been involved with the collision repair business since 1973. He has been employed by Sherwin-Williams for 25 years, and operates a Region Training Center as well as a SW Body Shop Consultant.

Class is limited to first 40 Check in starts at 8:00am Class Starts at 8:30am

**Note Class qualifies for 12 AMI Credits and 1.75 I-CAR points (after applications and fee are mailed in)

download flyer and registration form HERE

Mitchell International and CAA join together to give you a unique insider's view into the world of collision information software and development. We invite you to join us and your colleagues at this engaging and enjoyable Open House at Mitchell's Technology Campus in the Scripps Ranch area of San Diego. With personal tours of the famous Mitchell editorial and software development complex, you'll see how enormous amounts of information is turned into state-of-the-art tools for the collision professional. You'll also have plenty of time to meet our experts and talk shop while enjoying food and beverages in a fun setting.

Make your reservations now. Limited Seating.
Meeting Kick-Off 6:30 PM. Mitchell Facility Tour 6:40 - 8:40 PM
Additional Activities:
Mitchell Expo with Product Experts
Casual Dinner and Drinks Included
8:45pm Special Raffle iPad2 $5.00 / ticket

download registration form HERE



BMW North America filed another motion for judgment on the pleadings in a case involving a California paint jobber. The jobber, Nicolosi Distributing Inc. (NDI), alleges that BMW North America intentionally interfered with a contract NDI had with a BMW-certified shop.

BMW North America began making its BMW certified repair shops use only BMW certified paint during their repairs while the repair shop in question, German Motors Collision Center, was still under contract with NDI for their paint materials.

NDI contends that “BMW intentionally interfered with NDI’s contractual relationship with German Motors Collision Center... by the following conduct: BMW has decided to product its own paint line ... BMW requires auto body shops painting a BMW automobile to only use BMW paint. BMW forced German Motors Collision Center to enter into a written agreement ... which requires German Motors to use BMW paint on any BMW car painted at German Motors.”

Published in WESTERN NEWS

More than 2,500 drivers have been cited since Delaware’s hands-free cell phone law went into effect at the beginning of 2011, according to the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

Office spokeswoman Alison Kirk says more than 350 people were issued cell phone citations in one day during a statewide crackdown on April 21. She says there have been 30 crashes involving cell phones as a distraction since the ban went into effect.

Cell phone users caught talking on their phones can expect a $50 ticket for their first offense, but after court costs the total can be more than $100. Subsequent cell phone offenses can result in fines between $100 and $200, although there are no points added to an offenders license for a cell phone violation.


Commercial Metals Co (CMC) of Irving, Texas, has announced plans to install a 3,000-horsepower Harris shredder with an online/offline nonferrous separation system at a new site in Corpus Christi, Texas.

According to a press release issued by CMC, the shredder will be built on a 63-acre greenfield site about 5 miles from CMC’s existing scrap processing facility in Corpus Christi. Construction will begin in May with completion anticipated by January 2012, the company says.

Joe Alvarado, CMC president and chief operating officer, says, “Installation of this new shredder ensures CMC will continue to meet the recycling needs of the Corpus Christi area and further demonstrates our commitment to grow our CMC Recycling division.”

With the announced installation, CMC will operate eight auto shredders in North America.


The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has testified before the House Ways and Means Committee of the Texas General Assembly in Austin, Texas, about an inequity in the current Texas Franchise Tax code.

In her testimony, Denise Caspersen, ASA’s Collision Division manager, discussed the association’s support for Texas House Bill 429, a bill introduced by Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-130, to reclassify the automotive repair industry as “retail” for purposes of the franchise tax.

“Currently, in the Texas Franchise Tax code, automotive repair and collision shops owned and operated by new or used car dealerships are taxed at half the rate used to tax independently owned automotive repair businesses doing identical work,” said Caspersen. “The tax code classifies dealership sales as ‘retail’ and allows their service and repair business to be included under that banner. Texas independent repairers are seeking similar treatment.”

ASA members from Texas also spoke in support of the legislation.

House Bill 429, if passed, would allow automotive repair shops to be taxed the same amount that dealers, parts stores and tire stores are now taxed. The Texas Senate has also introduced its version of the bill, Senate Bill 476.

ASA is asking Texas repairers to continue to support House Bill 429 and its companion, Senate Bill 476, by contacting their state legislators urging support for the legislation.




General Motors Co announced that they will invest millions into revamping a Kentucky factory to produce a new version of the iconic Chevrolet Corvette sports car, the automaker said on May 4.

"It has a completely different look. Don't ask me how or what, but people will be really surprised, in a good way," GM's North American president Mark Reuss told Reuters.

GM would not say when the new Corvette would be introduced, but automotive insiders have speculated that it will make its debut in 2013.

The automaker will invest $131 million in the Bowling Green, Kentucky plant to retool the factory for production of the seventh generation of the Corvette.


On May 3, Infinity Insurance’s Regional Claims Manager, Tim Waldron, called and spoke to Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland, FL, and repeatedly apologized for the recent comments made by an Infinity claims person to one of Gunder’s customers who captured it on a recorder.

This recording can be heard HERE; the voice heard is that of Infinity Insurance Claim Person, Lisa Whitehurst saying the following word track to one of Gunder’s Auto Center’s customers:

“I spoke with our re-inspector, who went out and re-inspected the vehicle at the body shop,” Whitehurst said in the message. “He said that this body shop has been known to give us issues in the past with other vehicles that they’ve repaired and apparently they are known for overcharging a great deal for the amount of damages and trying to add things that aren’t relevant to, you know, the repairs. They’re also known for holding the vehicle hostage until all the payment is made.”

As a result of the egregious statements made by Infinity’s representative, Ray Gunder immediately contacted his legal counsel, Brent Geohagan, who promptly sent a letter placing the insurer’s claims manager (Mr. Bill Funk) on notice and demanding that Infinity Insurance agree and confirm, in writing within 10 days, that such wrongful conduct on behalf of any Infinity Insurance representative will cease and desist immediately with no re-occurrences.


Barrett Smith, with Autodamage Experts, has released the following voice recording of a call made by a representative of Infinity Insurance to one of Ray Gunder's customers. Listen for yourself by downloading the WAV file at the bottom of this story.

The recordings have been widely quoted in the appealed case which was recently resolved in favor of State Farm. To see background click HERE.

Smith comments:

"This type of underhanded practice goes on more often than most are aware or would like to believe and needs to be curtailed, and one sure way is for it to be exposed to the masses and for those who conduct themselves in this way to fear exposure.

"For those of you who know Ray Gunder and the manner in which Gunder’s Auto Center operates, listening to this recording will likely make your blood boil... it did mine. This "supposed" claim professional is trying their best to interfere with and undermine the relationship between Gunder’s and at least one of its customers. Who knows how many times this takes place?

Continues Smith, "One has to ask themselves, what type of person has the lack of conscience and nerve to lie to a customer about a shop in which this claim-person has never dealt with or have first hand information to support what they say?

"The simple fact is she doesn’t and it is apparent she is merely doing as told and reading from a prepared word track intended and designed to disparage Gunder’s good name and destroy the confidence the customer had in selecting Gunder’s. A selection based upon their experience in having their vehicles repaired at Gunder’s more than once in years past, and have earned their respect!

"This so-called claim professional likely considers herself to be a honest and ethical person who cares for her family and attends church on Sunday; but on Monday, goes to work and does things that she is told….regardless if right or wrong and does so despite her personal, ethical or moral convictions, just as a mercenary or a paid assassin would go about their business, hiding behind the Corporate Infinity Badge.

So one has to ask why a large insurance company would do this? Simple, because they have an agenda to control the collision industry and they have done so without being held accountable and have reaped huge profits. Profits that were once the collision repairers.

"The very scary part; they and others who chose to conduct business in this manner will continue to do so to discourage any repairers who choose to step up and say no to underpayments for necessary processes and materials needed to properly serve their clients."

Ray Gunder adds:

"Know this and take serious heed: As long as the rewards outweigh the risks, like a child sneaking cookies, insurers will continue to increase their efforts to profit off the backs of others' hard work and sweat while avoiding the liabilities that come with underpaid repairs. And if you don’t merely submit and allow them free reign over your business, you too will become a victim of this vile and unethical practice of lies and deceit about you and your business.

"Just as slapping the child’s hand for taking too many cookies, or punching the bully in the nose when he comes to take your lunch money, it's only when the risks begin to outweigh the rewards that bad behaviors will change.

"Each repair professional out there needs to make a conscientious choice to either become a part of the solution or remain part of the problem. The choice is yours…use it wisely.

"As for Gunder’s; we will continue to do our part to instill accountability and deter insurers from harming us and our customers. There is strength in numbers and together we con conquer these types of practices in a short time frame…regardless, you can be assured I’ll continue to “Pound That Rock.” The person or persons responsible for these slanderous, outrageous lies (Lisa Whitehurst being one of them) will be held personally accountable. I have to wonder if she knows the effect her hurtful lies could have the twenty-five families dependent on work at Gunder’s Auto Center, all of which are honest, hardworking, ethical people. Is it okay to hide behind her “Infinity Corporate Badge” and attack anyone she’s told by management to  suppress their voice? Opinions welcome."

To view Infinity Insurance's response to the recording please click HERE.

Ray Gunder
Gunder’s Auto Center
(863) 688-7897


Painters Supply & Equipment Company (PSE) will be showcasing its new state-of-the art Learning Center as it hosts I-CAR® spokesperson and Past I-CAR Chair, Mr. Chuck Sulkala,  in a “Collision Industry Update Forum”.

The Forum will feature a presentation by Chuck that is designed to introduce the “New I-CAR” to collision repair owners and managers in the PSE service area.  Chuck plans to review the history of I-CAR, the new I-CAR Professional Development Program™, “Test Out” options and answer any questions related to I-CAR and I-CAR training strategy.

“Technical training is a vital component in the success of today’s collision repair facility” says PSE VP Sales & Marketing Guy Bargnes.  “In addition to working with I-CAR to bring training programs to our market, the opportunity to have an I-CAR spokesperson speak directly to shop owners and managers' regarding strategic training issues is a huge value that we are proud to facilitate.  It is a primary reason why we established our Learning Center.”

Published in Industry Events

The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) held their 5th Annual Conference May 1–3 at the Westin Gaslamp Hotel in San Diego. WIN was organized to enhance the collision repair industry—and the role of women within it—through education, networking, and sharing of resources.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

Attendance for this year’s conference was up 30–40 percent, according to Chairwoman Kim White. The event attracted over 150 attendees and featured speeches from motivational and industry experts as well as break out sessions where attendees could receive detailed, personalized tips for their businesses. The event was attended by Autobody News’ Assistant Editor, Erica Schroeder, and Barbara Davies, General Manager and Co-owner.

Speakers discussed a variety of topics designed to enhance business and personal skills as a whole.

“We are proud to offer sessions that will spark new ways of thinking, better performance, and greater understanding of industry issues,” said White.

In the opening session White also thanked the current board for their work this year including the organizations first, and very successful, booth at the International Autobody Exposition and Congress (NACE) in 2010.

The organization was able to increase their membership and exposure with the booth as well as their Women’s Track Classes that they offered during NACE as well.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

Fix Auto USA has announced the addition of five franchise locations. The new locations represent Fix Auto’s expansion in the San Diego market to eight locations, and the expansion of its presence in Southern California. Fix Auto USA, which added a franchise model to network membership in January 2011, currently has 39 franchise locations operating in three states: California, Colorado and Oregon.
The new Fix Auto locations include:

·    Fix Auto El Cajon, formerly East County Auto Collision

·    Fix Auto Escondido, previously Henson and Son

·    Fix Auto La Mesa, operated at Drew Collision Repair Center

·    Fix Auto Mira Mesa, formerly Miramar Collision Center

·    Fix Auto National City, previously owned by Ball Auto Group

Greg Carter, owner of Fix Auto National City, Fix Auto Santee and Fix Auto Mission Valley said the power of a larger network, powered by independent owners played a big role in his decision to franchise.

Published in WESTERN NEWS


JD Motorsports has announced that COLORMATCH, a leader in the distribution of collision repair products to the auto body industry, will sponsor the #01 Chevy for this weekend’s race in Nashville, TN.   COLORMATCH also sponsored Mike Wallace and JD Motorsports at the race in Bristol, TN earlier this season.

“We are really happy to have COLORMATCH on board as our sponsor for another race,” says Mike Wallace, driver of the #01 Chevrolet. “We hope to bring awareness to their brand and service. Our goal this weekend is to make their management and employees proud.”
Published in Product News

The Poway City Council granted permission in a 4-1 decision at a meeting May 3 to allow a new auto body center to set up shop in the business park, located in the south of the city.

Representatives from other Poway repair shops opposed granting Chrome Collision Auto Body Repair a permit to open up at 13175 Gregg Street, saying a repair shop there gives an unfair advantage and that they had been told they couldn’t run their businesses in that area.

Competition among auto body repair shops had been a controversial at City Council meetings before. An August deal to relocate Toyota of Poway across the street on Poway Road included an auto body repair shop.

That plan allows the dealership to use city-owned land rent free as long as it generates at least $3 million in revenue over the term of a 15-year lease. Auto body representatives at those hearings said that was an unfair government subsidy.

Several council members pointed out that this was different, as the city was not subsidizing Chrome Collision.

City officials said using property in the business park for auto body repairs is allowed as long as vehicles are stored and repairs are done indoors, which Councilman John Mullin noted could increase costs for the shop.

Councilman Jim Cunningham, who ultimately opposed granting the permit, wanted the city to look into whether other such shops had been denied permission to open shops in the business park. That desire failed to gain support on the dais.

Some council members, including Dave Grosch and Cunningham, worried that the the shop would be inconsistent with the character Poway wants for the business park, noting that large technological firms would be more desirable. Mayor Don Higginson said the use conformed to city regulations and that Poway needed to conform with the demands of the market to avoid leaving lots vacant.

Published in WESTERN NEWS

Onondaga County residents saw something they rarely see — hail the size of dimes, nickels, even golf balls. Now, auto body repair shops are seeing another rarity — customers coming in for estimates to fix car hoods, roofs and trunk lids pockmarked by hail.

By the end of Friday, Casey Rotella expected to have seen 50 or more cars whose owners were seeking estimates to repair hail damage. Rotella is body shop manager at his father’s company, Tony Rotella’s Auto Body Shop on Horan Road, Geddes.

“Ninety-nine percent of the stuff that we’re seeing is on the hoods, the roofs and the trunks, and then on the tops of fenders, the tops of doors and the tops of quarter panels,” Rotella said.

click for rest of the story HERE


Nationwide Insurance claims representatives continue to assist customers in Alabama in response to tornadoes that affected the state last week. Policyholders with storm damage should call the Nationwide claims hotline at 1-800-421-3535.

Nationwide has received more than 1,500 claims in Alabama since April 27, in varying degrees of severity.

As policyholders are able to access their homes and neighborhoods after the storms, homeowners can do several things to protect their property:


  • Make temporary repairs safely to prevent further interior damage or loss. Holes in roofs and broken windows should be covered with plastic or plywood and the property should be secured to prevent theft or vandalism
  • Create an itemized list of the home’s damaged or destroyed contents. Retain damaged items to allow for proper evaluation.

Policyholders should also know:

  • Homeowners insurance generally provides protection against the most common perils, including fire, theft, wind and liability.
  • For auto insurance, a comprehensive policy generally provides for losses due to a catastrophic storm, including rain, hail and wind.
  • Personal possessions within a car are not covered by an auto policy. A homeowners or renters policy typically provides coverage for personal property.
  • Although our policyholders are free to choose any contractor or body shop they wish, Nationwide claims representatives and agents are great sources of information when a policyholder is selecting a contractor to make repairs to a home or an auto body shop to have their vehicle repaired.

The Nationwide Catastrophe Team, a group of experienced professionals who understand the complex claims that happen in a catastrophe, are on the ground, getting to customers as quickly as possible. This team will work 12-hour-days, seven days-a-week until all policyholders’ needs have been addressed.

Published in Insurance Actions

In a good sign for those looking for some kind of distinction between the four auto manufacters' rides on the NASCAR circuit, NASCAR officials will be meeting with the four manufacturers in Detroit on May 3.

The idea is to help the manufacturers prepare for 2013, when the manufacturers will be able to debut new body forms on the Sprint Cup circuit to distinguish the cars from one another and come somewhere close to resembling cars on the street. In addition, the meeting will include talk of marketing and competition, and presumably some form of steam-table buffet lunch with rubber chicken.

click for rest of the story HERE

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

The Choice Autobody Repair Association (CARA) will be holding an association meeting on May 10, 2011 at McCall's Restaurant in Canton, Ohio. Dinner orders will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the restaurant and the meeting will start around 7:30 p.m. in the banquet room.

CARA is affiliated with the Automotive Education and Policy Institute; US Alliance of Collision Professionals; The Society of Collision Repair Specialists; and the Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence.

The purpose of CARA is to promote consumers' awareness of their individual rights when dealing with insurance companies and automotive repair shops, and to promote common business interest of individuals and corporations engaged in the auto body repair industry as well as foster education of both private and industry members.

Published in Industry Events

On May 4, Allstate Insurance Company and Sterling Autobody Centers will put cars and tools in the hands of Las Vegas vocational students so they can use their skills to make a difference for local families. Sterling, through the Collision Repair Education Foundation, will donate more than $10,000 in tools to Southeast Career Technical Academy and the College of Southern Nevada. Along with the tools, Allstate will donate a salvage vehicle to each school for students to repair to "like new" condition. Once the rides are refurbished, the vehicles will be donated to Las Vegas families in need.

The donation to the schools will take place on Wednesday, May 4, 10 a.m., at Sterling Autobody Centers, 3343 North Rancho Drive in Las Vegas.

"Sterling's donation of tools and equipment is an investment in the future of the students at Southeast Career Technical Academy and the College of Southern Nevada," said Nick Notte, president of Sterling Autobody Centers. "Supporting their technical training and seeing them use their skills to provide the gift of transportation to two deserving families is very rewarding."

Notte added, "This is an opportunity to highlight the Collision Repair Education Foundation and the National Auto Body Council (NABC), organizations that both Allstate and Sterling support. Our partnership with Family Promise helps us with that giving. Sterling hopes to employ many of the students who will benefit from our gift."

The two Las Vegas vehicles are part of Allstate's commitment to donate a total of 60 refurbished automobiles to the NABC Recycled Rides Program. Sterling Autobody locations around the country will be refurbishing more than 30 cars. The recycled rides will then be given to families or non-profit organizations at multiple events later this year. 

"Our participation in the Recycled Rides Program is an extension of Allstate's commitment to serve the communities in which we do business," said Bill Daly, Allstate Claims vice president. "It is an honor for us to be able to provide reliable transportation and help families across the country get to their jobs, doctor's appointments or other places they couldn't go without a ride."

Terry Lindemann, Executive Director of Family Promise and champion of the Recycled Rides Program will be on hand for the presentation, along with the recipient families.

Published in Industry Events
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 16:58

Montana Estimating Bill is Now Law

Montana's House Bill 265, signed into law by Gov. Schweitzer on April 28, gives heightened authority to estimating systems, requiring every operation and all costs identified by the estimating systems to be considered by insurers. The bill means that insurers cannot pick and choose which operations or costs they wish to accept or deny.

Bill 265 is formally titled: An Act Providing That An Insurance Company May Not Unilaterally Disregard A Repair Operation Or Cost Identified By An Estimating System That The Insurer And An Automobile Body Repair Business Or Location Have Agreed To Utilize In Determining The Cost Of Repair

The bill was sponsored and supported by the Montana Collision Repair Specialists. Said  Bruce Halcro, president of MCRS and owner of Capital Collision Center in Helena, "Montana shops rallied to the cause and made multiple contacts to our state legislators when asked by the association. We are very proud of all our members in Montana. They made the difference."

Writing in support of the legislation in February, Denny Menhollt, owner of Denny Menholt Chevrolet, in Billings (and a body shop owner), said: "HB265 is written to support a safe and economically sound collision repair. Insurers require usage of a database provider that identifies repair procedures. Many times, insurers then disallow or refuse to pay for these required procedures leaving the potential for unsafe repairs. Repairers then complete the required procedures, leaving no choice by to charge the consumer co-pay in addition to their deductible."

Menholt also expressed support for HB264, a bill to allow all Montana businesses as well as consumers to file a complaint with the state auditor's office if they see code violations that negatively impact consumers. The bill would provide a mechanism to seek code enforcement.

The bill was opposed by insurance lobby groups, but not necessarily by independent insurers. Ed Melcher, an independent insurance agent in Billings, supported the bill, saying: " HB265 would help eliminate the potential for consumers having to pay additional monies above their deductible." Melcher also supported HB 264.

Published in WESTERN NEWS


The Boyd Group announced the opening of a new repair center in McDonough, Georgia, on May 3. The center, previously known as McDonough Collision, was recently acquired by the Boyd Group and now operates under the Gerber Collision & Glass trade name. The new facility is approximately 26,000 square feet in size, with 24,000 square feet of production space.  With this addition, the Boyd Group is now able to serve consumers and insurance clients in the county seat of Henry County, 30 miles south of Atlanta. The Boyd Group now owns and operates 12 repair centers in Georgia and a total of 99 in the U.S., including 37 repair centers that operate under the True2Form trade name.

"We continue to execute on our strategy of expanding into select markets and growing our network of repair centers across North America," said Tim O'Day, President and COO of the Boyd Group's U.S. Operations. "The new McDonough repair center helps us introduce the Gerber Collision & Glass brand to an additional Georgia market and we are very pleased to be able to serve new customers in this location."

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