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.

Published in NORTHEAST NEWS

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.

Published in NORTHEAST NEWS

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.

Published in NORTHEAST NEWS

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.”

Published in SOUTHEAST NEWS

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 gattos.com.

Published in SOUTHEAST NEWS

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.

Published in SOUTHWEST NEWS

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.

Published in SOUTHWEST NEWS

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: www.tiaa.net.

Published in SOUTHWEST NEWS

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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