Autobody News - Items filtered by date: October 2011

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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

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:

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 .