Autobody News - Items filtered by date: September 2011

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.

Published in SEMA

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 NATIONAL NEWS

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 CollisionBuilder.com, 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