The National Auto Body Council (NABC) announced that they will award refurbished vehicles to 13 Las Vegas families this year on Thursday, November 3, at 2:30 p.m. outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center in conjunction with the SEMA Show. Family Promise, the charity who assisted these families, will also receive a vehicle at this event to further help them assist hundreds of families in crisis in the Las Vegas area.

Each of the families will be receiving the gift of a refurbished vehicle from NABC members through the organization’s Recycled Rides® program, a national initiative through which NABC members refurbish donated vehicles and gift them to families in need and organizations dedicated to assisting others. Through their generous support, the following NABC Diamond Members donated vehicles: State Farm, Allstate, and Enterprise-Rent-A-Car. Additional vehicles were donated by GEICO, American Family, AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah Insurance Exchange. NABC members Sterling Collision Centers, 911 Collision, Caliber Collision Centers, Gerber Collision & Glass, Collision Authority, Collision Masters CARSTAR East and two area Vo-tech schools, Southeast Career Technical Academy and the College of Southern Nevada, repaired the vehicles.

Each recipient family is a graduate of Family Promise of Las Vegas, a non-profit interfaith network that provides support to families in crisis. The NABC has made it a point to give away Recycled Rides vehicles at Las Vegas industry events each year of the program’s existence.

“We’re happy to be back in Las Vegas to give these families the reliable transportation that can help provide them a fresh start,” states Recycled Rides Co-Chairman Michael Quinn Vice President Industry and Community Relations of 911 Collision Centers, a Caliber Company. “We’re also very pleased to be able to say that the Las Vegas gifting represents only a small fraction of the 150 families that will be receiving vehicles this year through Recycled Rides. I am grateful to be part of a project that clearly illustrates the giving nature of NABC members and the collision repair industry at large.”

Please visit for more information.

Published in SEMA 2011
Friday, 28 October 2011 16:49

SAAB to be sold to Chinese firms

Chinese firms Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. have agreed to buy Saab for 100 million euros ($142 million), according to reports in Automotive News.

Saab owner, Swedish Automobile, said on Oct. 28 that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding to sell 100 percent of the shares of Saab to the Chinese companies. The memorandum of understanding is valid until November 15, provided Saab stays in reorganization. Swedish Automobile said Saab's administrator, Guy Lofalk, has withdrawn his application to a Swedish court for Saab to exit reorganization. The court had been due later the same day to decide on Lofalk's application.

Swedish Automobile said an important part of the deal "is the commitment of Pang Da and Youngman to provide long term funding to Saab Automobile."

Pang Da and Youngman will provide sufficient financing so that a court-backed reconstruction process under creditor protection can continue, a court document showed.

Published in Automaker and Dealers

Auto insurance claimants who incur a total vehicle loss are notably less satisfied with the claims experience than claimants who incur a repairable vehicle claim, a new study by J.D. Power reports. Satisfaction averages 811 on a 1,000-point scale among claimants with a total loss — 42 points lower than among those whose vehicle is repaired, according to the J.D. Power 2011 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study released Oct 27.

Auto-Owners Insurance scored 890 in overall claimant satisfaction, ranking the highest among all insurance companies for the fourth consecutive year. The following insurance companies round out the top five:

• State Farm: 878 overall claimant satisfaction score
• Amica Mutual: 865 overall claimant satisfaction score
• American Family: 862 overall claimant satisfaction score
• The Hartford: 858 overall claimant satisfaction score

The following insurance companies comprise the five ranked lowest regarding claimant satisfaction:

• Farmers: 804 overall claimant satisfaction score
• Esurance: 800 overall claimant satisfaction score
• Encompass: 789 overall claimant satisfaction score
• Commerce: 772 overall claimant satisfaction score
• 21st Century: 771 overall claimant satisfaction score

This gap is largely due to a lack of satisfaction with the settlement among total loss claimants, with approximately one-half of these claimants citing the settlement they received wasn’t enough to replace their totaled vehicle with a similar make/model vehicle.

“Auto claims resulting in a total loss tend to be more complex, compared with vehicle repair claims, because in addition to filing a claim, claimants also have to purchase a replacement vehicle,” said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Ongoing communication and managing expectations are key throughout the entire claims process, as total loss claims take 18.2 days, on average, for claimants to receive payment, compared with just 12.5 days for the return of a repaired vehicle.”

Published in Insurance Actions

Back-and-forth bids escalated to near nose-bleed levels on the 1964 Ford Fairlane at the recent Barrett-Jackson’s 4th Annual Las Vegas auto auction. Boldly painted in the striking “Red Hot Chili Pepper” hue from the Sherwin-Williams® Planet Color® Barrett-Jackson® Collector Color Series, the car was the top-selling vehicle of the event, garnering $700,000 – and all going to one, very important charity.

The winning bidder showed his gratitude to those serving in the American military and their families, with one-hundred percent of the sale’s proceeds benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation, a national non-profit organization that provides support for wounded service members and their families, through Project American Heroes. Additionally, Barrett-Jackson waived its commissions on the sale, as it has on all charity sales in recent years.

“Our men and women in uniform are on the front lines every day, and their families are continually called upon to put others first. We at Barrett-Jackson feel strongly about this incredible group of people and amazing charity, and that’s why I am willing to give up one of my prized possessions to show how thankful I am,” said Steve Davis, President of Barrett-Jackson, and (previous) owner of the Fairlane.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 22:00

PPG Unveils Colorful 2011 SEMA Attractions

PPG's upcoming SEMA exhibit features a collision shop theme, car world superstars, radical rods and bikes, new products, and more.

Celebrities, show cars and motorcycles, custom-painted auto hoods, new paint products, and more will be featured at the PPG booth at the 2011 SEMA show November 1-4, at the LasVegas Convention Center.

The PPG booth, 24501, is designed as a retro body shop—Johnny O’s Collision & Customs. At the booth, show visitors will be able to meet custom car world superstars and PPG devotees including Charley Hutton, Bobby Alloway, and Tom and Mitch Kelly. Painters Hutton (Charley Hutton’s Color Studio) and the Kellys (Kelly & Son the Crazy Painters) are well-known masters of their craft and highly respected for their distinctive paint designs and applications. Custom rod builder Alloway (Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop) is the 2011 Autorama Builder of the Year. Hutton will also lead two seminars about cool painting techniques with Vibrance Collection® waterborne products.

Published in SEMA 2011
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 21:57

ATMC Training Awards go to Five Firms

The Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC) will present the National Excellence in Training Award to five industry firms at the ATMC Industry Reception on November 2nd during AAPEX in Las Vegas, NV.

These prestigious awards are given annually to recognize outstanding training programs. “The awards are designed to emphasize the importance of training to the success of the automobile and truck industry,” said Dave Milne, ATMC President. The recipients include: Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC for their program On Track to Safety; Delmar Cengage Learning for their program Technician Test Preparation; Delphi Product & Service Solutions for their program CAN Data Multiplexing; Jiffy Lube International for their program Jiffy Lube University; and Volvo Cars North America for their program Precision Measurement. Judged by a panel of ATMC training professionals, these programs were selected from among numerous submissions for their ability to meet training objectives in a highly effective and innovative manner. “Congratulations to these deserving companies and the personnel who contributed to the development of these outstanding programs,” Milne said. “They are shining examples of the ingenuity being applied to solve the problems associated with training in the transportation industry.”

Published in SEMA 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that delays for 15 months toxic air standards for industrial boilers. H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011, aims to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs by providing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with additional time to reconsider and improve proposed boiler rules. In addition, this will extend the time period for the industry to comply with these rules.

The proposal, which directs the EPA to develop achievable standards affecting non-utility boilers and incinerators, and grants additional time for compliance with the rules, was offered in response to an influx of urgent calls from small and large employers. Economic analyses have projected that compliance with the rules, as currently proposed, could cost in excess of $14 billion, which places more than 200,000 jobs at risk. The impact of the postponement essentially ensures that businesses do not have to comply with the rule until the EPA pursues further public comment and issues a new and final regulation.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) 2011 was held recently in Orlando, Fla., and conclusive results released by ASA deemed this year’s event the most successful in recent years--largely attributed to an 18 percent increase in overall attendance and strong initial sales for the 2012 event. ASRW 2012 is scheduled for Oct. 11-13 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. (Educational sessions will begin Oct. 10, 2012.)

Ron Pyle, ASA president, commented on the event’s outcome saying, “Since we’ve returned from the show, we’ve been inundated with an outpouring of positive feedback, success stories and personal testimonies of the impact of this year’s event. It’s evident a tremendous amount of business was transacted in Orlando last week, and we could not be happier with the upswing of ASRW 2011.”

Total attendance for the 2011 event was 19,221, of which a third of the participants were from the east coast and another third were new attendees.

“By far the best NACE in our 11 year history.  We expected we would have a good number of new shops stop at the booth and that was for sure what happened. We gathered twice as many leads as last year, and we closed 3 times as many sales on the floor as last year. Overall a fantastic NACE, and we can't wait for New Orleans,” said Dave Henderson, AutoWatch.

“Congratulations to NACE. Great turnout. Manufacturers are jumping at the bit about New Orleans. Been a fabulous surprise,” commented Bruce Mather, Dir. of Marketing HMS Warehouse (ChemSpec).

Published in NACE & CARS 2011

Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) launched its nationwide Nissan Certified Collision Repair Network at NACE in Orlando. The new certification program is open to both dealer-owned and independent collision shops.

“There are growing numbers of owners who are enjoying the dependability, comfort, engineering and performance of Nissan vehicles every day,” said Mark Zoba, manager, Collision Parts, Part & Service Sales and Marketing, NNA. “These customers expect the highest level of consistent service, Genuine Nissan Parts, outstanding technical expertise and work done correctly in a skillful, efficient and careful manner. This means they expect prompt, professional, dependable service –which the certification process is designed to promote.”

Published in Automaker and Dealers

Chrysler Group LLC will have a major presence at the 2011 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.

This year, the 28,400 square-foot exhibit will include more than 30 Mopar®-modified vehicles from the company’s Ram, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep®, SRT and Fiat brands. More than 500 Mopar accessories will be showcased in the exhibit.  

“The aftermarket is a $34 billion-a-year industry and SEMA is the perfect place to showcase everything that Mopar has to offer,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service parts and customer-care brand. “At Mopar, we believe in giving our customers a lot of choices when they go to personalize their vehicles.  And that is why we offer extreme personalization for every single car in our showrooms.  In addition to head-turning image vehicles at the SEMA show, we also will introduce new must-see product and technology.”

Mopar image vehicles that will be on display at SEMA include:  

Published in SEMA 2011

Spies Hecker® is announced October 25 the introduction of Permasolid® Low VOC Clear Coat 8098, a low VOC finish from the Spies Hecker® “2K-Acryl-System.” Easy to apply and buff, this clear coat is designed to deliver excellent results over solventborne and waterborne base coats.

Permasolid® Low VOC Clear Coat 8098 is a reliable choice delivering excellent vertical stability and outstanding gloss. It features very good overspray melt in and can be sprayed in a 1½ coat process or in 2 coats, if desired.  It is specially formulated for small to large body repairs in multiple environments, offering the opportunity to improve results in the spray booth.  Less heat is required and less time is spent in the spray booth, equaling cost and time savings.

“With Permasolid® Low VOC Clear Coat 8098, shops have a 2.1 clear that is friendly to use, easy to spray and buff and offers outstanding gloss for great results,” said Debbie Curry, product manager – North America. 

For more information about Permasolid® Low VOC Clear Coat 8098, visit or call 1-888-371-3313.

Published in Product News

Chief Automotive Technologies has donated a new frame rack valued at $50,000 to the Operation Comfort Automotivation program for wounded U.S. military service members. Chief distributor English Collision Equipment, Inc. installed the rack at no charge.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to help these wounded warriors recover from the injuries they sustained while defending and protecting our country,” explains Mike Cranfill, vice president of collision for Chief’s parent company, Vehicle Service Group (VSG). “It is our hope that this equipment will aid in their rehabilitation and perhaps even ignite an interest in joining the collision repair industry once they are discharged.”

Operation Comfort is a non-profit, philanthropic organization focused on helping service members from all branches of the U.S. military who were wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq and are rehabilitating at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas. Depending on the severity of their injuries, these men and women will stay at BAMC from one to four years or longer.

Operation Comfort provides financial assistance to service members and their families, helps refurbish and equip waiting rooms at the medical center, and offers a number of rehabilitative and therapeutic programs in non-clinical environments. These programs include hand cycling, sled ice hockey, amputee surfing, softball, river rafting and Automotivation.

Published in Corporate News

CARSTAR Locations Expand in Texas, Washington, Missouri and New Mexico

More than 250 CARSTAR Stores around the Country

This spring and summer, seven independent collision centers around the country joined CARSTAR Auto Body Repair, which now has approximately 400 stores in the United States and Canada.

The new CARSTAR franchisees expect to benefit from the CARSTAR Management System, which provides resources to improve key business metrics such as cycle time, participation in CARSTAR’s 17 corporately managed DRP programs, and improved purchasing power from 44 corporately managed purchasing programs.

The seven newest members of the CARSTAR Nation include:
· Premier Collision CARSTAR in Tacoma, WA
· Bailey's CARSTAR Auto Body & Glass in Poplar Bluff, MO
· Miller's CARSTAR Collision in Houston, TX
· CARSTAR Collision Pros in San Antonio, TX
· ProCare CARSTAR Northeast in San Antonio, TX
· ProCare CARSTAR Southside in San Antonio, TX
· Galles CARSTAR Collision Repair in Albuquerque, NM

Published in Corporate News

The Women's Indsutry Network announced on October 24 the location for their 2012 annual conference. The conference is scheduled to take place at the InterContinental Buckhead in Atlanta, GA, May 6-8, 2012.

“We are extremely excited about the selection of Atlanta for our 2012 Conference, as it has always been one of the most frequently requested locations when we asked our members,” said Katie Henwood, DuPont, who serves as WIN’s Conference Committee Co-Chair with Tina Clark, Collision Solutions. “We are working hard to gather an amazing array of speakers and activities for 2012, and we look forward to sharing more details, including a conference brochure, in the near future.”

For more information please see

Monday, 24 October 2011 15:55

Health Care Forum at NACE/CARS


The Town Hall meeting on Health Care in the Service Industry was held on-site in Orlando at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Sponsored by the Automotive Service Association (ASA), this event was a platform to discuss healthcare reform and its effects on small-business owners.

The discussion, titled "How Will Healthcare Reform Affect My Business?" examined the impact of healthcare reform in the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and provided an outlook for changes in healthcare laws in the future.

Industry experts Kaitlyn Dwyer, legislative analyst for ASA; and Bob Redding, ASA's Washington, D.C., representative, reviewed the new law's impact on independent automotive repair businesses and possible changes in healthcare laws. Attendees also had the opportunity to ask questions in this interactive presentation.

Panelists for the program included Donna Malvey, Ph.D., University of Central Florida; Terri L. Seefeldt, RHU, Rogers Benefit Group; Jim Houser, Hawthorne Auto Clinic Inc.; and Don Seyfer, Seyfer Automotive.

"At our Town Hall meeting, automotive repairers expressed concern about healthcare costs and the new healthcare law," stated Redding. "Congress is still discussing possible changes in the new healthcare law but it's important to note the administration continues the regulatory process and recently announced the long-term care insurance program known as CLASS, passed as part of last year's healthcare reform law, will not be implemented at this time. The administration indicated that the proposed new program is actuarially unsound."

AUTOBODY NEWS will be running a three part series on Health Care and Small Business starting in our December issue.

Published in NACE & CARS 2011

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has often trumpeted the word "opportunity" as a descriptor for the collision repair industry's purpose at the SEMA Show, and in that spirit SCRS has announced that Sam Malatesta, CEO of ClaimsCorp International, has taken over the responsibility of delivering the aptly titled "Dealing With Resistance to Change" seminar on Nov. 4 at 12:30 pm.

Malatesta is the founder and CEO of ClaimsCorp International, a software and services company focused on leading the right changes in the Auto Claims Economy.  He previously was a co-founder and senior vice president of North America's first national collision repair chain.  During his career in the automotive and insurance industry, Malatesta pioneered various "collaborative innovation" business models that have proven to add value to all stakeholders in the value chain; collision repair entrepreneurs, their employees, insurers, and other key members of the supply chain.

Published in SEMA 2011

GARMAT USA announced the winners of their 2011 Sharp Shooter Contest on October 21. The contest which started in early September, was designed to recognize quality paint techs and shop owners that use Garmat equipment. Judging was based on the shop owner and paint tech's dedication to providing quality paint jobs, superior customer service, attention to safety and overall equipment knowledge. Additional questions included an inquiry on how Garmat could improve their Garmat experience with product improvements.

The Grand Prize Winner, Art Smith won a trip for two to SEMA 2011, he said this will be the first time he has ever been to SEMA, and he is excited to attend. His story can be found on the Garmat Facebook page. In addition to the grand prize 7 finalists received leather jackets for both the tech and body shop owner and every entrant was awarded a Garmat Sharp Shooter cap.

Published in Corporate News

The Inland Empire chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) will hold a parts symposium meeting on November 9 at 5 p.m. The meeting will take place at LKQ/Keystone in Ontario, CA (2530 Lindsey Privado #C). A tour of the facilities will kick off the meeting at 5 p.m. followed by dinner, then speakers will start at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will answer questions like 'are all aftermarket parts created equal?' and other aftermarket parts certification questions. The night's featured speakers will be Jack Gillis, executive director of the Certified Aftermarket Parts Association (CAPA), Bob Frayer with NSF Corporation, Charlie Hogarty of the Auto Body Parts Association (ABPA), and Eileen Sottile with LKQ Corp.

The price of admission is one new pair of athletic shoes for boys and girls (K-12th grade, sizes child's 10 to adult 10) or a $40 check to Shoes That Fit.

This event is already filling up so an RSVP is strongly recommended, please contact Cindy Shillito at 714-944-4028 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to make reservations.

BASF Automotive Refinish Solutions announced October 21 that it will exhibit world-class customized cars and the very latest in waterborne and custom color technology in booth 21458 at the 2011 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, Nov. 1-4, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This year, BASF is showcasing its Glasurit® and R-M® waterborne paint systems on the vehicles of the world class and internationally known builders who use them.

Chip Foose, television personality, automotive designer and owner of Foose Design, will be on hand to unveil the 1957 Mercedes 300SL “Gullwing,” that he has re-styled for BASF, on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 3:10 p.m. Chip will also launch 12 new Foose Signature Colors he designed for BASF and sign autographs Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 9 – 10:30 a.m. and from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

On Tuesday Nov. 1, at 3 p.m., BASF will host the unveiling of the latest Ringbrothers masterpiece, Diversion, the highly anticipated 1970 Camaro restoration, painted in BASF’s Glasurit 90-Line waterborne system. Unveiling the Diversion for the Ringbrothers will be Bill Goldberg, former WCW and WWE Wrestler and host of the DIY Network television show, Garage Mahal. Ringbrothers will also make an appearance in BASF’s booth Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 2 – 4 p.m.

BASF is featuring two not-to-be-missed Mustangs in its SEMA booth this year: the Darryl Gwynn Mustang built by West Coast Customs and featured in the Sept. 11, 2011 episode of the television show, Inside West Coast Customs; and the first ever Richard Petty Signature Series Mustang built by Petty’s Garage. Both of these vehicles are painted with BASF’s R-M Onyx HD™ waterborne system. Be sure to stop by BASF’s booth to see these amazing cars and to meet the people who built them. Ryan Friedlinghaus, owner and CEO of West Coast Customs and star of Inside West Coast Customs, will make an appearance in BASF’s booth Thursday, Nov. 3 from 2 – 3 p.m. Richard Petty will also be stopping by the BASF booth to say hello and shake hands.

BASF is also promoting the North American launch of its R-M Carizzma Waterborne colors at this year’s show. In addition, BASF will have experts on hand to talk with customers about its collision repair industry value added services and tools: VisionPlus Business Solutions; VisionPlus Online Dashboard; and the best color matching tools in the industry.

Be sure to visit BASF Automotive Refinish Solutions in the Racing and Performance area of SEMA 2010, booth 21458.

For more information, please visit:

Published in SEMA 2011

Global Finishing Solutions announced on October 20 a ground-breaking new development in paint booth filters with the introduction of the new WAVE Aqua filters. The first filter designed specifically for maximum performance with waterborne paints in automotive and industrial applications, GFS WAVE Aqua filters provide exceptional removal efficiency (99.73%), extremely low initial resistance (0.03" wg) and better depth-loading that traditional paint booth filters, which results in much more consistent airflow balance in the paint booth throughout the usable life of the filters.

WAVE Aqua filters are available exclusively from GFS, and come in standard pad sizes, as well as in multiple roll sizes. Custom sizes are also available.

GFS is a leader in providing paint finishing equipment and integration services to the Automotive Refinish, Industrial, Aerospace, and Military markets. For more information visit the WAVE Aqua website at or contact GFS at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at 800-848-8738.

See more information HERE.

Published in Product News

If there is one thing I find hard to deal with in this topsy turvy world of the auto repair business is the way some people will react when they are at the repair shop. It’s the way they conduct themselves at the shop when it comes time to get their car repaired.

Over the years I’ve been praised and degraded.  I’ve been called a saint and I’ve been called the devil (or worse). I’ve heard the shouting and the stuff I probably wasn’t suppose to hear (walls don’t always block sound you know). After a while you’ve heard it all before, and the attitudes that you see at the front desk become a part of the daily grind. Coping with all this is what I call; “growing alligator skin.” I try not to take things so personally, I’ll let the alligator skin handle it, and then take off my protective coat before I get back home to the wife and kids.

What gives with the need for such a thing as “alligator skin”? I believe there a several factors inherent to the automotive industry that brings on this crocodilian coat of protection.

Mistrust of the automotive repair world in general is what I believe is the number one factor; but what brings on that mistrust? Is it the incompetent mechanic? I doubt that is always the case. Is it the money out of their pockets which they were not expecting when they drove down the road to the repair shop? I believe it’s more in the hands of the unknowing consumer who reads and watches too many evening news reports on the unscrupulous business practices of the few out there that really are rip offs and not the normal operations of countless decent shops in this country.

Published in Gonzo Weaver

GW&SON Auto Body in Oklahoma City, OK, was established in 1985 by Gary Wano and his son Gary Wano, Jr. Gary Senior had 17 years experience managing a local dealership post his tenure as an automotive painter. With plenty of practical knowledge Gary felt it was time for him to open his own shop with his son.

To view a PDF of this article with photos please click HERE.

Since the shop’s inception they have grown to 6 times the size of their original facility, with a 27,000 square-foot production floor. The shop now has 26 employees, including two of Gary Jr’s siblings, and a nephew. Gary Wano Jr, has also been afforded the opportunity to become nationally involved. He is currently holding and has held industry leadership positions such as a past chair of SCRS the nation’s largest association solely focused on collision repairer needs, the CEICA Repair Advisory Panel, I-Car ISAC, Co-Chaired CIC’s Anti-fraud Committee and is currently a voice for the repairer in CIC’s Insurer/Repairer Relations Committee and the Repair Standards Committee. Oddly enough, it was through this national involvement that spawned the business model that by choice limits GW&SON’s DRP relationship’s with only one insurer. The industry is constantly changing, repairers of today need the access to industry trends and all over data, says Gary Jr, GW&SON’s VP and operation manager. Gary Senior still works within the production of the shop, offering valuable insight to the production floor manager; with a business model centered on community involvement and technical training more than relying on a lot of DRP relationships to bring in customers.

“Our OEM Certifications have become a great niche for us,” said Wano Jr. GW&SON is the only Jaguar, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Corvette ZO6 certified repair facility in the state.

Published in Shop Showcase

SEMA is just around the corner and many of you will be attending the trade show and SCRS repair-driven education. I am teaching a class on how government regulations will impact the collision industry right now, but for those who cannot attend, I am going to highlight my presentation here. Let’s look at the US Government  CAFÉ (corporate average fuel economy) standards. By the year 2015, the CAFÉ standard for the industry (cars and trucks combined) is 31.6 MPG (35.7 for cars and 28.6 for trucks). How will these standards affect body shops?

To view a PDF of this article with photos please click HERE.

First, cars will need to get lighter and smaller. The use of aluminum will increase. You will see more hoods, deck lids, fenders and other body parts being made from aluminum. Many aluminum hoods are double paneled with virtually no access to the back side. Most shops today do not the capability to repair this type of damage. What is needed is an aluminum stud gun.

The unit pictured first comes with the stud gun and a number of hand tools for repairing aluminum. The machine pictured second is just the stud gun with the puller. You will need to invest in hand tools because aluminum tools can’t be used on steel components because of the likelihood of galvanic corrosion. Dent Fix, Reliable Automotive Equipment and ProSpot are a few examples of companies that sell aluminum repair equipment. You will also need to invest in training. Repairing aluminum is not difficult, but there are a few techniques that need to be learned to achieve a successful repair.

You will also see smaller vehicles. With smaller cars, you will see an increase in the use of ultra high strength steels in cabin reinforcements for passenger protection. Nearly all manufacturers require full replacement of these reinforcements and that will lead to more total losses. Let’s look at Federal Motor Vehicle safety standard 216A.

by Vincent Romans, Romans Group

A half decade has passed since we started tracking collision repair organizations that generate repair revenue of $20 million or greater annually. During these past five years we have seen a remarkable amount of change, not only within the collision repair and auto physical damage aftermarket industries, but also with our U.S. and world economies.

To view a PDF of this article with photos please click HERE.

July 2010 marked the “official” start of the recovery from the 2007 to 2009 recession, but it feels like a recovery in name only for many people. Our economy has been described by many economists and media pundits as being in a “soft patch.” A growing number of forecasters believe we are at risk of a double-dip recession due to the sluggish economy and a broad spectrum of increasing dynamic, complex U.S. macroeconomic and global downdraft variables that continue to influence fundamental structural change within our business, financial and government institutions with some currently identifiable and still indeterminable impact on the collision repair, property and casualty insurance, and OEM and aftermarket auto physical damage segments.

Who will lead the collision repair industry and how those leadership companies will influence the collision repair, property and casualty insurance and related auto physical damage business segments is an evolving story that is playing out at this very moment. This evolving story can be summarized by viewing it as part of a long-term continuum involving three simultaneously active industry changing phases: Contraction, Consolidation and Convergence. We have seen both long-term historical and real time contraction within the auto repair and affiliated industries. Collision repair industry contraction is due to an increasing number of complex dynamic macroeconomic and industry-related variables including, but not limited to:

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

by John Yoswick

More than 400 shops were represented on a panel discussion at this year’s 2011 International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) – but only four chairs were needed on the stage.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

That’s because the four speakers were representatives of some of the largest multiple shop operations (MSOs) in the industry, which combined have more than 7,200 employees and annual sales topping $1.26 billion.

The four were speaking at a new forum held for the first time at this year’s NACE in Orland, Fla., a day-long session aimed at (and open to) only MSOs. Much of the content of the panel discussions during the symposium, however, could have been equally of value to the single-location shop owner who wants to expand his or her business.

During the “Lessons Learned From the Big Four” panel discussion, for example, Cathy Bonner, the president of the 47-shop Service King chain in Texas, was asked what role social media plays in her company’s extensive marketing efforts. Bonner said she thinks it’s a stretch to think that people want to “socialize” with a collision repair shop, and that measuring return on an investment in social media is difficult given how infrequently the average driver needs a shop’s services.

Published in NACE & CARS 2011

I mentioned social media to a body shop owner recently and, to my surprise, he was almost hostile to the concept. There seems to be a very localized group in the collision industry that really understands social media and this guy was not one of them.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

“Why would I put my shop on Facebook?” he said. “I don’t have a lot of customers who are teenage girls!” I told this gentleman that Facebook and most other forms of social media aren’t being used exclusively by teenage girls. Facebook’s 800 million members aren’t all teenagers, and they certainly aren’t all girls.

Last month’s NACE meeting featured a keynote speaker, Chris Brogan, who’s a social media guru accustomed to talking to large automotive groups like those attending NACE/CARS, and the GM Dealers of Canada, for example.

What’s going on here? Why would some shops and associations spend valuable time instructing on social media while others can’t run away from it fast enough?

David Moore, the owner of, a company that designs web sites and develops social media plans for body shops and related businesses, has seen a recent spike in body shops getting involved in several forms of social media.

Published in Ed Attanasio

State and regional associations—that together represent more than 2,000 body shops—participated in the sixth annual “Affiliate Leadership Conference” organized by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and held near Chicago in mid-September.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

SCRS Chairman Aaron Clark said the event is designed to help the national association gather input from its state affiliates on its direction and efforts, as well as to help those groups work with one another and with the national organization.

The affiliate groups reported on their recent and upcoming legislative efforts, their interactions with shop and insurer regulators, and other activities and issues in which they have recently been involved.

In Montana this past spring, for example, Governor Brian Schweitzer signed into law a bill, sponsored by the Montana Collision Repair Specialists, that prohibits a insurer from “unilaterally disregard(ing) a repair operation or cost identified by an estimating system” that the insurer and shop have agreed to use to determine the cost of repair.

Bruce Halcro, a Montana shop owner and president of the association, said getting the state auto dealers’ association involved in backing the legislation was part of what helped push it through the legislature, where it narrowly failed just two years earlier.

The Montana association this year had also backed a bill that would have allowed body shops and others – rather than only consumers—to file complaints with the state insurance commissioner’s office. That bill was overwhelmingly approved 97-3 by the Montana House, but died in a Senate committee.

Published in John Yoswick

West Coast Collision in Cape Coral, FL, focuses on customer service by striving to make customers feel at home and answering all their concerns and questions. They also focus on  informing customers about their environmentally friendly habits. They say they were the first—and to their knowledge—the only shop in Southwest Florida to only offer waterborne paints exclusively, emphasizing the importance they place on lowering harmful emissions as well as exploiting the other well-known benefits of waterborne.

To view a PDF of this article with photos please click HERE.

West Coast Collision was originally founded in 1981 by Kevin Eck, but current owners, Chuck and Brenda Romano, purchased the business in 2008. Chuck Romano had previously run a shop in the Philadelphia area for twenty-five years, and when the opportunity to buy the West Coast Collision name arose in 1998, he jumped at the chance since it had a very similar history to his previous business which he had sold to a consolidator in 1997.

After acquiring the new business, the Romanos relocated to a more convenient location two blocks away and invested nearly $1,000,000 in new equipment, remodeling and renovations. They fully computerized the office, adding CCC One as a management system, and they created an internet presence through social networking, creating a logo and creating a brand tag line, Cape Coral’s Leading Collision Repair Center. Their website informs customers “At West Coast Collision, we want you to know that your car is as important to us as it is to you.  We treat every car as if it were our own”.

Published in Shop Showcase

What could a customer expect from an auto body shop that is open seven days a week?  For some customers it’s enough to know such a shop exists!

To view a PDF of this article with photos please click HERE.

Baugh Auto Body in Richmond, VA, is the only shop in the area that’s open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday, with the added convenience of being open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 4pm. The shop also offers on-site car rentals on weekends. Customers do not need to schedule an estimate, but Baugh Auto Body will schedule specific times to provide an estimate if the customer prefers.  Baugh Auto Body’s mission is to treat every customer like a member of their own family, and they guarantee their work, including paint, for as long as the customer owns the vehicle.  According to Ashley Baugh, Customer Service and Marketing Coordinator, “Baugh Auto Body is a leader in the industry and has been ranked in the top GEICO national and regional shops for customer service and cycle time.”

As part of his quality guarantee, owner Gerry Baugh oversees daily operations and is available to speak to clients personally.  When he is not available, his daughter and Ashley Baugh, ensures that customers are treated with respect and the assurance that their vehicle will be taken care of.  Gerry Baugh established the shop in 1982 when the current space became available, but he first became involved in the collision repair industry when he was only sixteen years old.

Though Baugh Auto Body has been in business for nearly thirty years, they decided to spread the word about their quality and convenience to customers in the Richmond area in a more proactive way back in 2009.  To do this, they hired Lythos Studios, an advertising company, to assist in making their website more appealing to potential customers and to help promote their business. Lythos Studios was hired in the summer of 2009 to revamp the shop’s logo and their website, but ultimately provided much more. Lythos Studios helped with branding the business and pushing brand recognition, thus helping to position Baugh Auto Body as one of the top shops in their community.  Though the changes proposed were not very difficult to implement, Lythos Studios’ marketing plan has greatly affected Baugh Auto Body’s business, and it took only a month or so for the shop to see returns from the marketing strategy.

Published in Shop Showcase

As a paint manufacturer’s rep, there is not a single month that goes by without being put in the middle of collision repairers and insurers; expected to chime in on a dispute about what is necessary for a proper repair. In the July 2010 edition of Autobody News, I wrote an article on the debate about Color Match, Blending or both and no matter how many industry experts since then have expressed a similar point of view—this debate never seems to loose momentum.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

While arguing my point a month ago, I realized that we could end this debate once and for all. For a moment, let’s assume that in 2011, all parties involved in collision repair have come to the conclusion that blending is not only an option, but a necessary and required part of a quality repair process. I like to compare this to the restaurant experience. If you go out for an expensive dinner and the restaurant simply slaps the food on your plate, without creating a pleasant arrangement, the food will still tastes the same. Chances are the customer will not consider this a satisfying experience, or be a repeat customer at this establishment. Just like the owner of a restaurant, collision repairers and insurers want the same thing to maintain a successful business. We need happy vehicle owners that give us high CSI ratings and long-term customer retention. Blending is for collision repairers and insurance companies, what arranging the food is to the restaurant business. It is a must have in today’s business world.

So let’s assume we all agree on the point of blending, where does this leave the color match portion of the estimate? During my last conversation I had with an insurance representative, I noticed clearly why we go around in circles on this issue. It is the classical case of misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the term color match.

Published in Stefan Gesterkamp

Chrysler’s Southeast & Southwest Service & Parts Business Conference was held at the Disney Contemporary Resort in Orlando from October 12 through 14. More than 375 dealers, parts managers, and service managers enrolled in the conference; representing over 240 of the highest volume dealerships in the country.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

The 3-day conference provided numerous educational sessions specific to dealer principals, service managers and parts managers as well as a vendor expo. This is the third year that the show has combined representatives from their southwest and southeast regions into one show—previously each region had separate shows.

The first day of the conference was kicked-off by Frank Lasater, SEBC Service and Parts Manager, and Bill Harry, SWBC Service and Parts Manager. Rolf Assmuth, V.P. Technical Service Operation, followed with a Service Operations Update and a Mopar Parts Update by Jim Sassorossi, Director, Mopar Field Service & Parts, concluded the morning.

The afternoon sessions included Mopar Brand Vision by Trish Hecker, Director Mopar Marketing, and Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence by Jeff Noel from the Disney Institute.

The second day of the conference provided over twenty Service, Parts and Dealer Principal break-out sessions for the attendees to choose from. This year's conference offered more flexible and diverse education sessions as a result of attendee feedback from the previous years. This allowed attendees to better adapt their sessions to their individual needs, resulting in more dealer principals and managers in attendance than any previous conference.

There was also a Vendor Expo Thursday night with over 100 vendors participating.

The conference wrapped up on Friday with various presentations by industry experts and closing remarks from Frank Lasater, SEBC Service & Parts Manager.

Published in Automaker and Dealers

Unless specifically recommended by the vehicle maker, parts with a tensile strength over 600 MPa should only be replaced at factory seams. This is just one of the “best practices” identified at a Repairability Summit hosted by I-CAR earlier this year. Summit attendees consisted of subject matter experts from vehicle makers, tool and equipment makers, collision repair facilities, insurance companies, and the American Iron and Steel Institute.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

The primary intention of the summit was to identify best practices for working with ultra-high-strength steels (UHSS) and the new construction methods found on late model vehicles. In February 2012, I-CAR will premiere its Best Practices for High-Strength Steel Repairs (SPS09) course, highlighting issues covered during the Summit and other best practices.

While vehicle maker recommendations should be followed first and foremost, these best practices can be leveraged where none exist. For example, while there’s a lot more information on steel strengths in the vehicle service information with each new model year, sometimes the information is not there. Summit attendees discussed various tests the technician can perform in the repair facility that help identify if the steel is mild, HSS, or UHSS (see Figure 1).

Published in Tech Notes

The newest member of the Autobody News Distinctive Dealerships Group is Audi-Mission Viejo in Southern California. A relatively new dealer, only seven years old, Audi-Mission Viejo has managed to thrive by always putting quality first.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

Quality is in all areas of the parts department. Justin Stinnett is a parts director who knows how to make quality pay off. Justin began only two years ago, with a bloated inventory and untrained personnel. He needed all of his twenty years experience to change that. Since then, there has been a steady rise to the top and is one of the best Audi parts departments in the region. His secret has been to insist on quality. Quality means the newest and best available technology for his department, and the best employees he can find.

Justin’s investments in technology include state-of-the-art inventory control, and a simple and easy internet order system. is a good example of how to set up a simple online parts link. A well organized department holds over a half-million dollar inventory, and a modern communications system completes the basics.

Justin has four quality countermen, led by Armando with twenty years experience, then Henry and Robin with eight years, and Mario with six. A bilingual crew works well in the southern California market, language issues are no problem. This team works together with common goals, to keep their department the best in the region. Their efforts have been rewarded, their wholesale business has tripled!

Customer service is the standard here, promises are kept, and orders are always completely filled. Such service creates the friendships and loyalty so necessary to success in these times.

Published in Williams, Larry
Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:34

Choosing a More Profitable Market

These days going to the movie theater can be very expensive. Theater owners have come to realize that former patrons now get their films online from services like Netflix. To compensate for the loss of these customers, they have begun to add luxury amenities like select seating and personalized service in the auditorium. And of course the price of a ticket has skyrocketed, in my area to around $14.00 for a ticket.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

Sadly, in this economy, lower-income car owners have also migrated to cheaper paint and body providers. Shops like “One Day Paint and Body” are getting much of the business that quality shops used to get to keep their technicians busy and keep paint purchase volume up.

It may be time for shop owners to take a hint from theater owners and more thoroughly focus on higher income prospective customers. Many shops already do aim their marketing at higher end European vehicles like BMWs and Mercedes, but the range of vehicle choices has also increased greatly. The Korean automakers have begun to claim a larger share of the market. Like theater owners, a shop owner has to ask, “What special amenities will get all better quality car-buyers to choose my shop over any other?”

Many shops have already focused on pampering their customers. They go beyond proving a rental car to taking the rental car to the customer and having a lock box for keys so the customer can drop off the rental car at the shop after hours. A shop may also choose to cover the difference in cost for a luxury rental vehicle. A luxury lounge with big TV, WIFI, computer games for kids and up-scale refreshments are already commonplace. Many shops offer a car wash and interior clean. For higher end customers, shops may even include exterior and interior detail. But who pays for all of these amenities when insurance companies are working to reduce what they will pay for?

Published in Tom Franklin

“The Insider” is an auto insurance company executive who wishes to remain anonymous. This column reflects solely the opinion of The Insider in his unvarnished view of various issues impacting the collision industry.

Can NACE Survive as a ‘traveling regional trade show’?

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

Well, it’s that time of year again: lights, slots, dice, scantily-clad women, lavish parties, casinos and NACE? Actually, it’s not—NACE is already over. In case you missed it, NACE (the International Autobody Congress and Exposition) took place in early October in Orlando, the first time it moved from Las Vegas in more than a half-dozen years.

Yes, I was one of a handful of people that showed up to support the industry’s longest-standing national trade show. I have missed only four of the 29 of these annual extravaganzas, and I wasn’t about to let a trip to sunny Florida deter me from attending.

I have to admit, I was apprehensive about spending the money and time to attend two shows this year. . How this small industry can support two national trade shows (NACE and the SEMA show in November, which I will discuss in my next column) is beyond comprehension. In fact, I would say it’s not possible.

Here’s my best guess: We will be back to one national industry trade show in the next three years. There’s no way that the large companies buying booth space will continue to throw good money after bad. Even aside from the poor economy, national trade shows like NACE are a dying breed. Yup, even the mighty dinosaur eventually went extinct.

Published in Insurance Insider

Moody’s Collision Centers in Maine are well-known by their community for their quality service, but they also display exemplary environmental efforts and a culture based around employees. In addition to the many environmentally friendly efforts made by the shops, owner Shawn Moody has also established an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) for the company which allows employees to purchase a share in the business, thus inspiring morale and dedication.

To view a PDF of this article with photos please click HERE.

In July 2011, Moody’s Collision was acknowledged for their environmental consciousness, employee-focused culture and work with the community when they received Akzo-Nobel’s FIT award.

“Receiving the FIT award was a legacy event.  Moody’s is extremely honored to accept this prestigious award.  We really place a great deal of thought and consideration to all that we do and consider sustainability our cornerstone of decision making,” said Moody. Moody’s switched to Akzo-Nobel’s Sikkens paint in 2003, and Moody considers it one of the best decisions in the thirty-three years he has been in business.

In 2010, Thad Moody led the change to AutoWave waterborne paints in all of their shops, becoming one of the first shops in Maine to make this conversion which minimizes VOC emissions and reduces waste. Since the shops repair all makes and models, switching to waterborne presented the challenge of rebuilding their color library. Moody admits the first six months were a challenge but says they are getting better constantly.

Published in Shop Showcase

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

To view a PDF of this article with photos please click HERE.

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

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

Published in Shop Showcase
Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:21

2012 WIN Conference will be May 6-8 in Atlanta

The 2012 Women’s Industry Network (WIN) Conference is scheduled to take place at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, May 6-8, 2012.

“We are extremely excited about the selection of Atlanta for our 2012 Conference, as it has always been at the top of the list when we asked our members,” said Katie Henwood of DuPont, who serves as WIN’s Conference Committee Co-Chair along with Tina Clark of Collision Solutions.  “We are working hard to gather an amazing array of speakers and activities for 2012, and we look forward to sharing more details, including a conference brochure, in the near future.”

“WIN is proud to offer a unique educational experience for the industry,” said Victoria Jankowski of State Farm, who also serves as WIN’s Chair.  “This will be the 6th year for our WIN conference and we continue to develop a formula for conference content, based on WIN member feedback, that offers something meaningful for a diverse audience.”

For more information about WIN member, go to

First let me say that there is no “right” answer to most of the challenges a collision owner faces today. Things that worked in the past will no longer cut it today and we need to constantly re-invent the wheel. I will give some examples of ways to cautiously move forward in today’s market.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

One example is advertising, in the past we would get a bigger yellow page ad, and maybe we would do newspaper and maybe some TV. In today’s market the consumer rarely picks up the phone book and newspaper sales are at an all time low, while TV is still questionable with DVR’s people can fast forward through your expensive 30-second commercial.

Another example is purchasing equipment and your ROI. In the past a shop would buy a thirty thousand dollar frame rack or measuring system and they would be able to close a sale based on something they had that their competitors didn’t. Today, repair standards and requirements to repair a collision have become so advanced that most decent collision facilities have the same equipment. So purchasing a large piece of equipment in today’s market most of the time offers “no” return on your investment.

Published in Lee Amaradio

PPG’s most recent MVP conference, held last month in New Orleans, was conducted with the theme: “Reveal the Power of Performance.”  The conference focused on how collision centers can maximize overall performance and profitability despite the current economic climate.

The three-day conference at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel included keynote speakers, breakout seminars, and workshops designed to assist collision centers in addressing market realities using effective, productive business strategies and practices.

Published in Corporate News

The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) awarded the group’s annual scholarship to attend NACE to the two top-placing female winners at SkillsUSA.

This year’s recipients are Alexandra Domer, who placed eighth in the automotive refinishing technology category, and Elizabeth Moore, who placed 10th in the collision repair technology category.

The WIN scholarship includes airfare, lodging and associated expenses, as well as a full access NACE Expo Pass provided by the Automotive Management Institute (AMI) and Automotive Service Association (ASA).

Additionally, Domer and Moore were honored at the ASA sponsored industry awards ceremony on Oct. 6, and also will receive a 2012 WIN membership.

After high school, Domer attended the Waubonsee Community College, where she earned two Associate Degrees in Applied Science, one in Automotive Body Repair and Automotive Technology. She graduated in the spring of 2011 and hopes to have her own collision repair facility one day.

Moore graduated from Freedom High School in the spring of 2011, and is currently attending UTI in Houston.

“The WIN NACE scholarship goes to the heart of WIN’s mission to support and encourage women who are entering the industry, particularly those in the technical ranks. Surrounded by our amazing WIN members, this scholarship has consistently been a wonderful way to introduce young women to the collision industry,” said Teresa Bolton, Director, Collision Repair Test Development, ASE who also serves as WIN’s Scholarship Co-Chair and Treasurer.

For more information go to

Published in NACE & CARS 2011

The San Diego chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) will hold their 7th annual holiday event on November 5 at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse in San Diego from 7p.m. to midnight.

This year’s holiday event will be hosted by close-up magician and game master Barryn Vaughn. The cost of the event is $45 for members, family and friends before October 31. After October 31 the cost is $50.

For the cost of the ticket attendees get a buffet dinner, (1) 50/50 raffle ticket, dancing, and a fun-filled night of holiday escapades.

Raffle prizes will be drawn throughout the night, the 50/50 raffle will be drawn at 10:30p.m.

For more information call Hop Sanchez at 760-275-9246.

Car rental firm Hertz Global Holdings still wants to buy Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, despite missing a deadline to make a final offer, and is chasing antitrust approval for a takeover of its smaller rival, according to Reuters.

On October 11, Dollar Thrifty said it failed by end-October 10 to flush out any final takeover bids that met antitrust concerns, and planned to go ahead as a stand-alone company.

However, Dollar Thrifty, which has been at the center of an 18-month tug-of-war between Hertz and rival Avis Budget, said it would consider any changes to Hertz’s offer or any other offer that might be made.

“We remain interested in acquiring Dollar Thrifty. We remain focused on receiving an FTC consent decree,” Hertz spokesman Richard Broome told Reuters, referring to the Federal Trade Commission. “That’s the first step in the process.”

Dollar Thrifty is seen as the last big prize in an industry that has consolidated in recent years, but its takeover has been uncertain as this would leave three players dominating more than 90 percent of a U.S. car rental market worth close to $21 billion in 2010. The market leader is privately-held Enterprise.

One of Dollar Thrifty’s biggest shareholders said it was highly likely Hertz would win antitrust approval and would push to get a deal through early. The shareholder asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

CARSTAR held their annual National Conference for 2011 in Seattle, WA, from September 24 through 27. The conference drew in around 400 industry members and franchisees. During a teleconference leaders of the multiple shop operator (MSO) offered insights into their future plans for growth over the next few years.

CARSTAR’s CEO, David Byers, who was added to the team as of this year, started the conference by highlighting where CARSTAR is presently. Byers said the MSO is on track to reach total sales of at least $600 million, and that according to industry averages for independent shops, individual CARSTAR franchises make about twice as much per year.

Byers also talked about how the MSO has been able to continue to grow thanks to continued industry consolidation since the company’s inception in 1989 and an increasing trend of insurers moving towards using MSOs.

At the Conference Ryan Keller was named the new head of Business Development, and he is expected to help the MSO open 40 to 50 new stores in the next year. This is 2 to 3 times more growth than the MSO has been able to produce over the last few years. This dramatic increase in growth is expected because of a renewed focus on acquiring new stores and adding a lot of new staff, according to Byers.

Dan Young, Senior Vice President of Insurance Relations mentioned that part of CARSTAR’s success can be attributed to the way their franchises are set up. Although each store is a CARSTAR franchise, there remains one owner at each location and this enables the franchises to self-manage and have a single point of contact for insurers and customers per franchise.

Stacy Bartnik, Vice President of Field Services also talked about the MSO’s continued efforts to grow existing stores as well. She mentioned training existing shops on lean processes so they can improve cycle and touch times.

Gerald Wicklund, Owner of Wicklund’s CARSTAR was also on the teleconference. His franchise was the first franchise of CARSTAR and he is the second generation owner. He talked about the Conference’s focus on educating their franchises about effective marketing and website and social media management.

Wicklund also mentioned that the military appreciation efforts his franchise makes have been very effective marketing tools for his business.

“25 to 30 percent of my customers that come in the door have done their own research before I write the estimate,” said Wicklund.

Wicklund’s CARSTAR was also honored with the Outstanding CSI Award at the conference this year.

For more information please visit

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS
Thursday, 20 October 2011 16:21

DuPont Custom Finishes to Exhibit at SEMA 2011

DuPont Custom Finishes will participate at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow in Las Vegas, NV.

The show will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Nov. 1 - 4.
DuPont Custom Finishes, exhibiting in booth #22789 in Hot Rod Alley, Central Hall, will feature DuPont™ Cromax® Pro, ChromaPremier® and Hot Hues™ custom paint products. Industry airbrush and pinstripe artists will be showcasing their skills with live demonstrations in the booth using DuPont™ Cromax® Pro waterborne products.

Vehicles on display in the booth will include a 2012 DuPont Calendar winning ’61 Chevy Impala, owned by Tim Brown of Jacksonville, FL; a ’71 Challenger owned by Bob and Karon Zeitler and painted by John Riehn of John's Autobody and Paint. Imperial, MO; and a ‘50 Fleetline built by Tim Strange, owner of Strange Motion Rod & Custom Construction and host of PowerBlock TV series Search & Restore. Strange will make appearances to sign autographs in the booth 10a.m. to 12p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2 and 1p.m. to 3p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3.

The SEMA Show takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more. The SEMA Show is a trade-only event. For additional details about the show, or to register to attend, visit:

More information about DuPont Cromax® Pro Waterborne, Hot Hues custom finishes or ChromaPremier® paint products is available by visiting or by calling 1-800-GET-DUPONT.

DuPont has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGO’s and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment.

For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit:

Published in SEMA 2011

Collision Hub Founder and CEO, Kristen Felder was recently nominated for this year’s Car Care Council Women’s Board “Aftermarket Woman of the Year,” an award that honors women in the aftermarket for their dedication and service to the industry.

The winner will be announced at the 14th Annual Car Care Council Women's Board Reception on November 1; 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada during the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow.

“Our Women’s Board ‘Aftermarket Women of the Year’ awards are a way for us to applaud exceptional women in the aftermarket for their dedicated service, as well as to recognize women who are going above and beyond to make a difference in the industry,” said AAA’s Ruth Ehlinger, president of the Car Care Council Women’s Board.

“I have always been passionate about education and supporting women in the industry as a Women’s Industry Network board member, an Akzo Nobel Most Influential Woman and the founder of Collision Hub,” said Felder upon receiving the nomination.

“Collision Hub was created as a safe space for all parties in the automotive industry to come together and collaborate towards transformation and positive change.”

For more information about the Car Care Council Women’s Board, visit or e-mail womensboard

For more information about Collision Hub, visit or contact Elizabeth Blackman at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Published in SEMA 2011

Golden State Collision Centers will hold their annual Harvest Festival on November 15 from 5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. at the MSO’s Orangevale, CA location.

This mixer will serve to benefit the Twin Lakes and Orangevale Food Banks, as well as providing local businesses an opportunity to network together. The collision center is the beneficiary of the Orangevale Chamber’s $500 ‘Chamber Gives Back’ grant, which will be presented to the food banks, along with all canned and non-perishable food items collected from October 1 through November 15th.

The MSO will be collecting food donations from October 6 through November 15. Simply drop off your food items at Golden State Collision Center’s Orangevale location located at 9439 Greenback Lane, Orangevale, CA. If you are unable to drop off donations, please contact Rebecca Endres at (916) 580-5637 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and she can drop by your business to collect your donations.

Published in WESTERN NEWS

Golf is a difficult game, but running a body shop is even harder. So, logically you would think that playing golf would be an easy task for people working in the collision industry. Evidently, it’s not the case.

Golf balls were raining down like sunshine on a beautiful day when the Santa Clara Chapter of the California Autobody Association hosted its 18th Annual Golf Tournament at the Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose, California in late August. The only problem was—most of the balls were landing in the bushes, on golf paths and in surrounding trees.

With 75 golfers primed to attack this beautiful course overlooking Coyote Canyon, body shop personnel, vendors, industry icons and friends were quickly humbled by the course’s undulating greens, tight fairways and bottomless bunkers. Cinnabar Hills is an award-winning course consisting of 27 holes, but 18 were more than enough for the participants, according to Rob Snow, SCC CAA member and former officer.

“It’s not about the golf, fortunately,” said Snow, who owns Monterey Collision in San Jose. “It’s about hanging out with people you respect and work with. Getting a nice crowd for this tournament is a big deal and maybe it tells us that we’re coming out of this recession and looking for better days.”

Tobias Padilla from Hertz was the main force behind the event. “It was a strong turnout and everyone had a great time,” Padilla said. “We all work very hard in this industry, so when we get a whole day to enjoy a sport like golf, it’s a much-needed break. The people at Cinnabar were great and I want to thank everyone who volunteered their time to make it a big success.”

The biggest Tiger Woods-like moment of the day took place when Young Ko, the owner of KS California Auto Body in San Jose nailed the closest to the pin, when his ball landed less than a foot from the 17th hole. The modest gallery (three squirrels and a pigeon) gasped at the majestic shot and Ko is undoubtedly still talking about it.

Ko’s name also appeared in the victorious foursome that captured the tournament, with Vince Rojas from Annex Color & Supply, associate Jeff Parker and Joe Bugisle from BASF. With a good share of birdies sprinkled in with a passel of pars, this foursome took the title and walked away with the coveted title.

Published in WESTERN NEWS

A new law in NJ (N.J.S.A.39:13-2.1)  amends the insurance coverage requirements for damage to property and for liability arising from bodily injury which an auto body repair facility must maintain for a full service license. The law reduces the minimum amount of garage keepers’ liability insurance that a shop must maintain from $300,000 to $50,000.

Full service licensed auto body facilities must still maintain insurance coverage for damage to property and for liability arising from bodily injury, including, but not limited to: eligible garage liability or equivalent commercial general liability insurance in a minimum amount of $300,000 or a letter of credit in the amount of $300,000; Garage keepers’ liability insurance in a minimum amount of $50,000 or a letter of credit in the amount of $50,000. Limited full service license applicants and licensees must also comply with these requirements.

“This will make the law fair to the shops by not forcing a small shop to purchase more insurance than it needs,” said Charles Bryant of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey, which proposed and supported the change.


New York State’s Suffolk County suffered the highest insured property loss among the 191 counties affected by Hurricane Irene, according to the latest estimate and reports made by Insurance Journal.

New Jersey, New York and North Carolina were the top three states with sustained insured property damage topping $500 million from Irene. Virginia and Maryland completed the top five. The estimate was prepared by insurance data provider Verisk Analytics and released on Oct. 17. Among the individual counties affected by Irene, Suffolk County, New York, was followed by Dare County, North Carolina—with more than $200 million of insured property damage in each—ranked first and second by insured damage. Completing the top five worst-hit counties from an insured property damage standpoint—with more than $150 million in damages in each—are Nassau County, New York; Monmouth County, New Jersey; and Worcester County, Maryland.

Overall, eight counties had estimated insured property damage in excess of $100 million.

Verisk Analytics’s estimate, called Verisk Catastrophe Index, was prepared for the District of Columbia and the 13 states and 191 counties within these states that were affected by Hurricane Irene.


Following flooding and damage done by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, body shops and dealerships on the east coast were not prepared to have to deal with heavy rain storms. In northeast Pennsylvania and western New York state heavy rain drenched an already inundated area with more water the week of September 26.

During Hurricane Irene, rushing water ripped the bay doors off the service department at Maroon Kia in Wayne, NJ. The water was so powerful it washed two front-end alignment machines, each weighing an estimated 2,800 pounds, from the service bays into the nearby Pompton River. About 40 to 50 new and used vehicles were destroyed by the floodwaters, according to a report in Automotive News.

The dealership’s building that houses the new-car showroom and service department had severe cracks in the walls and ceilings following Irene. The dealership’s used-car lot was littered with holes—one about 15 feet long, 10 feet wide and 6 feet deep.

The National Automobile Dealers Association says it estimates that 10 percent of the dealerships in states affected by the recent storms would be unable to operate due to storm-related damage, according to Automotive News.

Maroon Kia sustained major damage and waterlogged vehicles. Other dealerships said the only impact came from distracted customers who prepared for the storm rather than shopping for vehicles.

Following Hurricane Irene, Station Auto Body in Newark, DE, was left under 3-1/2 feet of water, according to owner Rob Amadio. Luckily, the shop was able to get out from under the flood waters and returned to normal service shortly after the hurricane passed through. Amadio said they did not experience any recurring flooding in the storms at the end of September.

McBride Auto Body in Woodland Park, NJ, also sustained flood damage due to Hurricane Irene, and owner Joseph Carioti III took advantage of the mandatory cleanup as an opportunity to renovate some parts of his shop. Most of the flooding damage occured in the office area of the building, since the shop floor is bare concrete, but parts of the business were under 4-feet of water after Hurricane Irene blew through.

Thankfully not all of the cars were flooded during the storm, but the business did lose some tools that got damaged by all the floodwater. McBride’s office area is now better than before Hurricane Irene hit, he told Autobody News.

Thursday, 20 October 2011 16:07

English Color Opens 42nd Store in Austin, TX

English Color and Supply announced on October 11 that they have acquired Affordable Auto Color in Austin, Texas, and created their 42nd location.

Chad Francis, who is the Store Manager, began his career in the paint business working for his Grandfather at Big 3 Auto Supply in Temple, Texas. In 1996 Chad started Affordable Auto Color in Austin.

Mark Shanks has been in the autopaint business for 25 years, 12 of which has been with Affordable Auto Color. English Color welcomes their technical expertise and experience to the English Color and Supply family.

English Color and Supply has locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas.

The Austin store is located at 9800 Gray Blvd Austin, Texas 78758.

Reach the store by calling 512-339-8447 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Store Hours are Monday through Friday from 8a.m. to 5p.m.

For more information please visit


The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association (NWLCRA) held their monthly members meeting on October 4 at 6:30 pm. October’s monthly meeting was held at Louisiana Glass and Mirror’s new location in Bossier City, LA.

Mark Monroe, an instructor at Bossier Parish Technical School opened the meeting with a prayer. Bill Burnside, NWLCRA Secretary-Treasurer brought the meeting to order by reading the anti-trust statement. Bill also reminded the group to start planning for the NWLCRA Christmas Party on Dec. 3. The Walker Street Band will be the Christmas entertainment again this year. NWLCRA will also sponsor the “Toys for Tots” charity. Everyone is encouraged to bring a new, unopened, unwrapped toy for either a boy or girl to the Christmas party to be donated to the US Marines that help with the “Toys for Tots” program.

Funds and advertisements were discussed, and the group has one more advertisement space available on their website. Anyone interested in advertising with the NWLCRA just needs to click on the “Advertise with Us” link and fill out the online form on their website at

Several members of the NWLCRA helped with the BPCC 100 annual fundraiser (See Autobody News September 2011). This is where businesses compete in a race using go-karts, NASCAR style. For more details on the race, see Kevin Adams with Krystal Auto Collision, Chris Shepherd with Louisiana Technical College, and Bill Burnside with Tri-State Coatings helped by being judges. The BPCC 100 raised over $50,000.00 for scholarships this year. Every cent is going to be used for Bossier Parish Community College and Louisiana Technical College scholarships.


Big changes are in store this month for one of the country’s biggest multiple shop operators (MSOs): Caliber Collision Centers.

Caliber Collision will be relocating the company’s corporate headquarters from Irvine, California to Lewisville, Texas—a suburb in the northern area of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

“Our relocation to Texas allows us to consolidate management spread across a number of locations in California and Texas,” said Steve Grimshaw, President and CEO of Caliber Collision Centers.

Caliber plans to move into their leased 16,397 square foot space at 401 E. Corporate Drive in Lewisville, Texas in mid-November. Caliber will move because of Dallas-Fort Worth’s affordable metropolitan area, central location, business-friendly environment and large, diversified workforce—all of which will support the company’s growth throughout the United States, said Grimshaw.

“Our move to Lewisville provides us with an opportunity to consolidate much of our management which is currently spread across a number of locations in California and Texas,” said Grimshaw.

Grimshaw also said the relocation does not indicate any change in the company’s approach to current or future markets. “Our first priority is to ensure we have sufficient coverage in our existing markets for our clients and customers. We also look to seek new geographic growth opportunities in states contiguous to California and Texas, such as Nevada and Arizona, and finally other markets based on our client’s needs.”


Following Ray Gunder’s charge alleging altered documents that show State Farm’s manipulation of their market survey of rates and allowances, State Farm has elected to pay the charged amounts of Gunder’s Auto Center and avoid further discovery of its business records. See sidebar.

In seeking discoverable information pertinent to three separate lawsuits by three of Gunder’s customers (of which Gunder was acting on behalf of each customer through power-of-attorney) State Farm’s refusal/failure to provide the requested documentation within the time-frame provided resulted in a court’s order compelling the nation’s largest personal auto insurer to comply and present the subpoenaed records ‘or else.’

As a result, State Farm first made overtures of a global settlement to avoid further litigation (and discovery) by inviting Gunder’s to mediate the more than 30 pending lawsuits pressed against them on behalf of Gunder’s customers for claims including, but not limited to Tortious Interference against State Farm employees including Larry Swearengin and Bob Davis as well as Breach of Contract and Bad Faith claims against State Farm Insurance.

While guarded, Ray Gunder agreed and thus the Contempt of Court hearing scheduled for September 22nd was postponed and mediation was scheduled for October 6th, 2011.


The 15th Annual GCIA Invitational Golf Tournament was held on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at the Trophy Club of Atlanta in Alpharetta, GA.

The GCIA thanked everyone who participated and especially the events sponsors: BASF, DuPont, PPG, Single Source, 3M, Akzo/Nobel, FinishMaster, Sherwin-Williams, LKQ, RBM of Atlanta, Enterprise Staff, and National Coatings & Supplies.

For more information please visit


Mississippi voters will have three candidates to choose from in the race for Mississippi Insurance Commissioner come the Nov. 8 general election: Republican incumbent Commissioner Mike Chaney, Democrat Louis Fondren, and Reform Party candidate Barbara Dale Washer, according to

The position has a four-year term and $90,000 annual salary.

As the incumbent, Chaney’s campaign emphasis has been his achievements during his time in office. According to Chaney, his in-office accolades include; modernization of the department’s records system, streamlining of the agent licensing process, collection of more than $4 million in refunds and additional claims for policyholders, transfer of $99.9 million to state’s windpool to help stabilize rates, an increase of 125 new companies writing policies on the Coast, and a $1 million program that led to grants for homeowners who strengthened their homes against wind damage. Chaney describes his campaign as grassroots.

Chaney, who served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1993 to 1999, and in the Mississippi State Senate from 2000-2008, was elected as Insurance Commissioner in 2007.

Fondren, a self-employed attorney-at-law and previous public defender of Jackson County from 1977 to 1981, will focus his campaign on being a “friend to policyholders” through stopping rate increases. Part of the way he would do that, he said, is to involve a public actuary—a professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk—in insurance premium hearings.

Fondren plans to spend the few weeks before the election spreading his message both on the Coast and beyond. At press time Fondren planned to speak at the AARP in Hattiesburg during the last week of October, at the Mississippi Economic Council’s Hobnob Mississippi in Jackson on Nov. 2, and at the Tupelo Chamber on Nov. 4.

Fondren also served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1972 to 1976 and was Mayor of Moss Point, MS, from 1969 to 1971.

Like Fondren, Chaney also plans to speak at the Mississippi Economic Council’s Hobnob Mississippi.

Washer, a retired teacher from Hattiesburg, will focus on achieving a balance between lowering rates and attracting new business, providing free windshield replacement for auto policyholders, and making sure that insurance companies do not breach contracts, according to the candidate.

For more information please visit

Thursday, 20 October 2011 15:42

R2R Coalition Gathers 100,000+ Signatures

The Right to Repair Coalition announced on Oct. 19 that it has collected 106,658 voter signatures after just 19 days of effort, well exceeding the 68,911 required for the pro-consumer initiative to appear on the 2012 ballot. A groundswell of support and enthusiasm from Massachusetts consumers has driven this issue forward in what could be record time for a signature gathering effort to reach 100,000-plus.

According to the Right to Repair Coalition, the Right to Repair voter initiative would, for the first time, allow consumers to access all of the non-proprietary repair information required to have their vehicles repaired where they choose, at a new car dealership or an independent shop. The proposed law would level the playing field between the big car manufacturers’ dealerships and independent, neighborhood repair facilities, allowing the latter to finally be able to access the same non-proprietary automobile diagnostic and repair information that is currently only available to the manufacturers’ dealers and their new car dealerships.

“It’s time that car owners have the right to get our vehicles repaired wherever we choose,” said Jeff McLeod of Marshfield, one of the signers of the ballot petition. “The growing support for this issue shows how important it is for consumers, especially in a difficult economy.”

The proposed Right to Repair law would keep vehicle repairs affordable for consumers by ensuring competition among repair facilities. By leveling the playing field and increasing consumer choice, Right to Repair can save families an average of $300-$500 each year, according to an industry study. A recently released AAA Financial Automotive Repair Survey highlighted that many car owners can’t afford to pay for their repairs, thus, often forgoing having them done. This creates a safety hazard for themselves and others on the road. Right to Repair would help alleviate their financial burden by increasing competition and allowing motorists to choose the less expensive repair.

Support for the ballot question continues to grow across the state as more car owners recognize that this law would directly benefit them by making it easier to access repair information electronically, increasing their safety and convenience in obtaining affordable repairs.

In addition to the rapid signature gathering, the Right to Repair coalition’s Facebook page continues to grow daily and now has over 10,000 supporters.

The Right to Repair Coalition includes consumer advocates like AAA and more than 2,000 independent repair shops, small businesses and retailers in communities across Massachusetts.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

Ron Pyle, ASA President, talks with Collision Hub's Kristen Felder before the start of the NACE show about his expectations and anticipated events for the show. With 30 to 40 percent of attendees and exhibitors coming to NACE for the first time, Pyle talks about his perception of the 2011 show's success.

Published in NACE & CARS 2011

With over 100 girls registered and nearly that number in attendance, Collision Hub’s second annual Girl Scouts: Tools for Success program was a huge success. For the event, the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council in Orlando came to the NACE show floor for an hour of conversations with leaders in the industry about the incredible opportunities available to young women in the collision repair.

The girls learned about frame equipment and measurement systems with Bob Holland of Chief, the history of DuPont with Petra Schroeder, the chemistry of paint and color with Laura Yerkey of ProSpray, advanced software and new technologies from CCC’s Susanna Gotsch, scholarship opportunities with the Women’s Industry Network, and more.

Following the NACE Tools for Success tour, Collision Hub hosted a Women’s Panel sponsored by LKQ and moderated by Eileen Sottile, which featured:
● Kristen Felder—Founder and CEO, Collision Hub
● Denise Casperson— Manager, ASA Collision Division
● Audra Fordin—Owner, Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop, Flushing, NY
● Stacee L. Royce—Laboratory Manager, Paint Applications and Masking Systems, 3M
Automotive Aftermarket Div.
● Petra Schroeder—Brand Development Manager Standox, Dupont Performance Coatings
● Victoria Jankowski—P&C Claims Consultant, State Farm and President of WIN

Published in NACE & CARS 2011

Standox® is pleased to announce the introduction of Standocryl® Clear PFC 30, a 2.1 clear to meet the most stringent VOC regulations. Specifically designed to deliver a mirror-like finish over Standox® solventborne and waterborne basecoats, Standocryl® Clear PFC 30 is ideal for all types of jobs.

Using a continuous 1.5 application process, Standocryl® Clear PFC 30 is a quality-focused clearcoat that is easy to use and provides a high-gloss finish and excellent overnight distinctness of image (DOI). If desired, it is also versatile enough to allow refinishers to use a 2-coat application process. 

Standocryl® Clear PFC 30 is easy to mix and spray—even in high heat conditions. It melts in well and lays down smoothly enabling painters to achieve excellent results.

“Collision Centers looking for a clear that meets the most stringent VOC regulations will discover that the new Standocryl® Clear PFC 30 not only helps them meet environmental requirements, it also helps to ensure satisfaction for the most discerning customers,” said Keith Sena, brand manager. “That’s because it is a quality-focused clear that delivers a superior mirror-like finish.”

For more information about Standocryl® Clear PFC 30, visit or call 1-800-551-9296.

Published in Product News

It’s a looming specter in the collision repair industry’s immediate future with potentially serious repercussions. We’re talking about Collision Repair Standards, and they will have more influence over the auto repair and claims industry than any single factor in its illustrious history, according to Dale Delmege, an industry spokesperson with more than three decades of collision experience. Delmege spoke on September 20th to the membership of the East Bay Chapter of California Autobody Association at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant in Walnut Creek, Calif.

“We are at a critical crossroads and some of the most powerful forces in our industry either don’t know it or are picking the wrong route with collision repair standards,” Delmege said. “One way or another, the standards issue will affect every player in this industry, either adversely or positively.”

Devising collision repair standards has been a long ongoing conversation without any results or other action for several reasons, Delmege said. “It’s a complex situation, because it involves the body shops, the techs, the OEMs, the insurers and the end users. It’s a tug-of-war with economic and psychological factors thrown in. On any given day, the insurance companies, OEMs and body shops are pulling mightily in different directions, but repair standards would alleviate a lot of this tension.”

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

General Motors announced the industry’s first-ever front center air bag on September 29. The airbag is an inflatable restraint designed to help protect drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.

The front center air bag will be introduced on the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Traverse midsize crossovers in the 2013 model year. This new safety feature will be standard on Acadia and Traverse with power seats and all Enclaves.

The front center air bag deploys from the right side of the driver’s seat and positions itself between the front row seats near the center of the vehicle. This tethered, tubular air bag is designed to provide restraint during passenger-side crashes when the driver is the only front occupant, and also acts as an energy absorbing cushion between driver and front passenger in both driver- and passenger-side crashes. The air bag also is expected to provide benefit in rollovers.

GM analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System database, found that far-side impact crashes, which the front center airbag primarily addresses, accounted for 11 percent of the belted front occupant fatalities in non-rollover impacts between 2004 and 2009 involving 1999 model year or newer vehicles. These far-side fatalities, where the occupant is on the non-struck side of the vehicle, also represent 29 percent of all the belted front occupant fatalities in side impacts.

“The front center air bag is not required by federal regulation, and no other air bag in passenger vehicles today offers the type of restraint and cushioning this air bag is designed to provide for front occupants,” said Scott Thomas, senior staff engineer in GM’s advanced restraint systems.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

Among the highlights of Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW) were the complimentary meeting rooms in the new NACE Network – the ONE place to meet, sponsored by CCC Information Services Inc. CCC is a leading provider of software and information services.

The complimentary meeting rooms were located immediately outside the ASRW Expo show floor. The area consisted of 11 small-to-large private rooms, each equipped with comfortable furnishings and wireless internet. The NACE Network was available Oct. 5-8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Reservations were made on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The NACE Network was definitely a hit at ASRW 2011! Having the rooms close to the show floor, but not on the show floor was a key feature of this consistently busy area, and we had concurrent meetings taking place each day of the show,” said Ron Pyle ASA president. “Many business transactions took place this week in Orlando, and we’re glad to have created a place for those important conversations that so many participants utilized.”

“Meeting space at our industry events can be hard to come by, creating obstacles to the business conversations and networking that we’ve all come together to do,” said Jim Dickens, senior vice president of the Automotive Service Group at CCC. “‘The NACE Network’ space was  created to better support the important business conversations and networking that define ASRW. Easier communication through a single location is what CCC ONE is all about, which makes this partnership with ASRW a natural extension of what CCC wants to do with and for the industry.”
Tom Williams, CCC marketing director, witnessed first-hand the activity generated by The NACE Network. “We couldn’t be more pleased with how this unique idea came to fruition and has been received on-site at ASRW. The meeting space made available in Orlando served the ongoing need for semi-private meetings, negotiations and miscellaneous business throughout the event on a daily basis. We hope to continue CCC’s involvement in offering this convenience in the future,” said Williams.
Additional sponsorship of The NACE Network was provided by Panasonic Solutions Company and MOTOR.

Published in NACE & CARS 2011

Noted journalist and social media expert Chris Brogan delivered a powerful opening general session presentation Thursday, Oct. 6 at Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW). The presentation was sponsored by DuPont Performance Coatings. The ASRW Expo opened immediately following the conclusion of Brogan’s presentation.

Brogan’s keynote presentation focused on guest experience design and the importance of augmenting traditional ways of generating business for the auto repair industry.

“29 years of success says we are doing the right thing and we will continue to do the right thing,” stated ASA president Ron Pyle before Brogan took the stage. “We have been entrusted to work for the industry and we will continue to do that as well as we can. Making ASRW and the people we serve successful is one way to make that possible.”

Brogan, who is also a marketing consultant and frequent speaker about social media marketing, educates businesses and organizations on how social software aligns with their strategies. He is the president and CEO of Human Business Works, an education and community company. He consults and speaks professionally with Fortune 100 and 500 companies such as PepsiCo, Microsoft and more on the future of business communications and social software technologies. He is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Trust Agents, and a featured monthly columnist at Entrepreneur Magazine. Brogan’s blog,, is in the Top 5 of the Advertising Age Power150. He has over 11 years of experience in online community, social media and related technologies.

“Chris Brogan is passionate about engaging people and was full of energy opening ASRW,” said Harry Hall DuPont North America Sales Manager of the Refinish Division. “As longtime supporter of NACE we recognize the need to be diverse in generating customers and the impact that it can have on our industry.”

Published in NACE & CARS 2011

The first Multi-Shop Operator (MSO) Symposium was held Thursday during Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) to a sold-out crowd of 150. The day-long event that took place at the Orange County Convention Center featured educational sessions specific to MSOs, a lunch presentation and an evening networking reception.

“The MSO Symposium was one of the most highly anticipated events at ASRW 2011 and it far surpassed all expectations we had for our first effort,” said Ron Pyle ASA president. “We received a tremendous response to this event, both from attendees and sponsors. We have a lot of people to thank for the success of the event, and we look forward to making the symposium bigger and better for 2012.”

The MSO Symposium was sponsored by CCC Information Services Inc., DuPont Performance Coatings, Toyota Wholesale Parts, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, UniCure Spraybooths, The Romans Group, I-CAR, Summit Software and 1-800 Radiator. The MSO Symposium was produced by the Automotive Service Association (ASA), International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) and Symphony Advisors.

ASRW plans to make this an annual event, holding the second MSO Symposium at ASRW 2012 Oct. 10-13 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

The North American arm of Nissan Motors announced September 29 that the all-electric Nissan Leaf is expanding its availability in the U.S.

Starting September 29, the company will be taking orders for the 2012 model year Leaf from consumers in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York.

“A prioritized ordering phase” will be in place for customers in these states who have previously placed a reservation for the Nissan Leaf, says the company.

On September 26, the company says it will open to the general public a new reservation process for the all-electric car.

And by the end of this year, Nissan hopes to take actual consumer orders for the 2012 Nissan Leaf in seven more states including—Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.


Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart has fined Allstate Insurance Co. and its subsidiary Encompass Insurance Co. a total of $50,000 for violations of Delaware insurance law.

The fines are contained in two separate consent orders, signed by Stewart this month.

The Allstate consent order asserts that the company violated insurance law by failing to provide defensive driving discounts to qualifying policyholders.

The Encompass consent order asserts the company violated the law by imposing an accident surcharge on policyholders involved in accidents even though they were not the party at fault. In all, 3,645 Delaware policyholders were impacted.

Allstate and Encompass cited computer errors and programming oversight as the cause of the violations and have said the problems have been fixed. Stewart wrote the orders in a way that would allow her to increase the fines up to $100,000 on each company if the problems re-emerge.

Stewart said she believes both companies did a good job of notifying and refunding all monies owed to policyholders, which totaled $848,355.

However, Stewart said she remains concerned about the effect these types of mistakes have on highway safety efforts, especially her department’s defensive driving program.

“One of my goals is to improve our state’s highway safety by getting more Delaware drivers into our defensive driving courses. What is more, I am committed to making sure that drivers who complete an approved defensive driving course get the discount to which they are lawfully entitled,” Stewart said.


Four New York collision repair facilities have received recognition from the Coordinating Committee For Automotive Repair (CCAR) in its GreenLink Shop program, the organization announced.

The newly-recognized shops are:
Carubba Collision, Buffalo, N.Y.
Carubba Collision, Hamburg, N.Y.
Carubba Collision, Tonawanda, N.Y.
Carubba Collision, Wheatfield, N.Y.

“We are proud to recognize the newest recipients of the GreenLink Shop designation, bringing our total to 143 shops since the program’s introduction in January 2010,” said Daren Fristoe, CCAR president and chief operating officer. “We are seeing more and more auto repair facilities incorporate environmental and safety stewardship in their business and marketing plans, and we look forward to greater levels of awareness in the coming months.”

All four shops being recognized are participants in the GEICO Auto Repair Xpress (ARX) program. CCAR and GEICO are partnering to promote the GreenLink Shop designation for GEICO’s ARX facilities across the United States.

The GreenLink Shop status, which serves to promote consumer confidence in local automotive repair facilities’ environmental/safety awareness and stewardship, is an extension of CCAR’s CCAR-GreenLink Environmental Compliance Assistance Center and S/P2 Safety and Pollution Prevention E-learning Program.

Repair facilities pursuing GreenLink Shop status must maintain high standards in environmental, health and safety (EHS) practices in four categorie. The CCAR initiative recognizes auto service facilities and collision repair shops, with separate criteria for each type of business.


David Smith of Auto Damage Experts (ADE) was recently called upon in criminal court in Oregon to render expert opinion on behalf of the defendant in an Oregon state criminal case.

The matter involved the accusation and ensuing assault charges filed by the state of Oregon against a man who broke the side glass of his estranged wife’s vehicle. The accusation was made that the accused struck the window with his fist out of anger to gain entry of the vehicle.

Conversely, the defendant stated he merely tapped on the glass with the tip of his key asking that the window be rolled down and upon doing so the glass broke.

The defense counsel called upon Auto Damage Experts to research and to testify as to what would be required to break the side glass. David Smith, with the aid of demonstrative evidence showed that breakage of the side glass could occur with as little as twelve pounds of force when applied with the tip of a pointed metal object such as the tip of a key.

The sitting jury found the testimony and evidence to support the defense and finding the accused man not guilty.

Attorney Ryan Colbridge of Corbridge & Kroll Attorneys at Law, LLC, and the lead defense attorney in the case stated: “I have had the chance to work with David Smith from Auto Damage Experts in multiple trials both civil and criminal. Most recently his testimony on the stand and expertise in the auto industry was a primary factor in getting my client acquitted in a criminal matter for which he was wrongfully charged. David’s clear and professional presentation to the jury was a key factor in their understanding of facts relevant to the case. I would, and do, recommend Mr. Smith and Auto Damage Experts freely and liberally to anyone who is need of such services.”

Barrett Smith, founder and President of Auto Damage Experts, Inc. stated; “with the many services ADE provides, we never know what we’ll be called upon to assist with next. This was a unique case and we are pleased that we were able to aid the jury and the court in rendering a sound and proper verdict.”


In 1971, Mike Gatto started Gatto’s Tires & Auto Service in Melbourne, FL. The business is now celebrating its 40th anniversary, according to Florida Today.

There are other numbers to note: Seven, as in how many stores the family-run business has on the Space Coast. And three, as in generations now involved in the business. It’s run by Mike’s daughter, Pam Gatto, with her two sons, Scott McHenry and Mike McHenry, and son-in-law, Mike “Kiwi” Nevin.

During their 40 years in Brevard County, the family has learned a lot about providing good customer service. Pam Gatto said the No. 1 rule is to hire quality people.

“We have a lot of good people who work for us,” said Gatto, whose is president of the company. “And they often tell me that they love working with us because they can be honest and straightforward and do the right thing when they take care of the customer.”

Mike Gatto spent 22 years in sales and marketing for Goodyear before striking out on his own in 1971. Pam soon joined him, and the family business grew from there.

She said, “Dad always told me, ‘We don’t sell tires and auto service. We sell safety and peace of mind.’ “

To help celebrate the 40th anniversary, Gatto’s is offering a few novel promotions.

“Anyone still driving a 1971 vintage vehicle can bring it in to one of our stores and get a free oil change,” Pam Gatto said. “Obviously, a 40-year-old car has received a lot of TLC to keep it going, and we want to make sure that trend continues into the future.”

And if customers stop by wearing paisley bell bottoms or other ‘70s attire, such fringe jackets, headbands or love beads, they will get a coupon for $19.71 off their next purchase.

“We really look forward to seeing them,” she said.

Gatto’s Tires & Auto Service stores are in Cocoa, Merritt Island, Viera, Palm Bay and Melbourne in the state of Florida. Learn more about Gattos (and about what happened back in 1971) at


Louisiana Glass and Mirror will hold open house for their new location in Bossier City. The company moved their location from one side of the city to another. The company’s new address is 2201 California Dr Bossier City, LA 71111. The open house will be held on October 13 from 6:00p.m. to 9:30p.m. Local band 3 Chord Street will play during the open house, which will also include a fish fry. For more information please call (318) 747-2800.


The UAW-General Motors contract has most of the rank and file optimistic about the state of GM, but their jubilance is tempered by the official shutdown of a factory in Shreveport, LA. Closing Shreveport Operations for good was the “saddest part” of negotiations, UAW negotiator Joe Ashton told reporters September 21.

The 3.1 million-square-foot GM Shreveport Operations factory opened in 1981 and in its lifetime was home to the assembly of nine vehicles, all of them trucks.

Assembled by UAW members in Louisiana before the shutdown were the Chevrolet S-10, GMC Sonoma, GMC Syclone, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Isuzu i-Series, the Hummer H3 and Hummer H3T.

With the exception of the S-10 and Sonoma, which were strong sellers for years, the plant had the bad fortune of being assigned to build slow sellers.

The end of the line for the Hummer H3 was in Shreveport. GM announced in February 2010 the Hummer H3 would die after it sold only 7,500 of them in 2009. This was after GM had sold between 22,000 and 54,000 of them in prior years. The last Hummer H3 made in Shreveport was on May 24, 2010.


The Alamo chapter of the Texas Independent Automotive Association (TIAA) held a chapter picnic on September 24.

A raffle was held during the picnic; proceeds from the raffle benefit the TIAA’s Automotive Training Reimbursement and Scholarship Programs.

The raffle winners are:
Mary Rodriguez from MAR Financial—Golf Cart
Mario Reyes from NAPA Auto Parts—Smith and Wesson ‘Governor’ handgun
John Anderson from Kaysers Automotive—Color TV
Wayne Van Den Berghe from Thrash Automotive—Fishing Tournament
Tommy Houston—$200

For more information please visit:


On April 4th, 2011, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and 26 of its Affiliate Associations issued a letter to the ten Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, Agency) regional offices, requesting clarification on their interpretation and intended enforcement of exemptions listed in the EPA rule Subpart HHHHHH- National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Area Sources (Rule 6H.)

In addition to expressed concern that the rule as written "invalidates pollution controls based solely on the size of tool being used rather than the amount of pollution being generated," the letter specifically requested a response from the EPA on three items:

1. A documented response regarding the exemption for coatings applied with a paint cup equal to or less than 3 fluid oz., and clarification that the rule applies to the type of work being performed.

2. A documented response that a 3 fluid oz. cup cannot be used and repeatedly filled to circumvent the rule.

3.Clarification that while a business applying coatings may be exempt from Rule 6H by meeting certain stated requirements, the exemption does not negate other additional regulatory requirements (such as OSHA, local zoning codes or fire ordinances) that may prohibit spraying flammable solvent or coatings with Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) outside of a contained environment.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

As expected, California Gov. Edmund Brown has signed into law CA S.B. 869, legislation that amends current law regulating automotive repairers. The new law amends the Automotive Repair Act. It provides that an automotive repair dealer who prepares a written estimate for repairs that includes the replacement of a deployed airbag and then fails to restore the airbag, as specified, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine, one-year imprisonment in a county jail, or both the fine and imprisonment.
Because this legislation would establish a new crime, the bill would create a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act.

Published in WESTERN NEWS
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