Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes will hold its next A-Plus™ EcoLean™ Level 2 workshop July 27-28, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Michigan.
The EcoLean Level 2 workshop is exclusively designed to educate attendees about maximizing profitability by improving productivity and eliminating waste throughout their facilities.
It is an extensive, two-day course that further implements the Sherwin-Williams message that educates shop owners on the connection between environmentally sound business decisions and the reduction of process and environmental waste.
“EcoLean is all about helping collision centers drive profitability and productivity, while reducing their environmental impact,” said Rodes Brown, Manager–Marketing Strategic Programs for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. “The training is structured like a college curriculum and the new EcoLean Level 2 workshop is open to all collision facility owners and managers that have attended Sherwin-Williams’ EcoLean Level 1 workshop.”
Volkswagen is jumping into the U.S. auto market by opening a new plant in Chattanooga, TN.
At the grand opening of the plant on May 24, the German automaker presented the 2012 Passat as the key to building U.S. sales to 1 million units by 2018. The $1 billion plant has been producing cars since April.
The new Passat will go on sale in Q3 of 2011 for $20,000 a car. That's about $7,000 cheaper than current models built in Germany and close to the prices of such competitors' models as the Ford Fusion, the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord and the Hyundai Sonata.
Jonathan Browning, president and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America, said the automaker wants to make German engineering more accessible to North American buyers.
"The Passats produced here in Chattanooga will be a key enabler to our growth, allowing us to compete in the core of the midsize sedan segment," Browning told reporters before the unveiling of the plant, according to the Associated Press.
US sales were mixed in May for the three models produced by Mercedes-Benz at its Vance, AL, auto factory.
Sales of the M-Class SUV totaled 1,928, a 15 percent slide from May 2010, the German automaker said June 1, according to the Birmingham News.
But sales rose 237 percent, to 873, for the R-Class crossover. Sales also rose 8.6 percent to 1,885 for the GL-Class full-size SUV.
Overall, a total of 18,886 Mercedes-brand vehicles were sold in the United States during May, a 2 percent rise from a year ago.
Kia Motors Corp. said June 2 it will increase the production capacity of its West Point, GA, assembly plant by 20%, to help the company keep up with demand for its vehicles, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Korean car maker says it will begin expansion projects at its Georgia factory that will raise its total annual capacity to 360,000 vehicles by the beginning of next year. The boost follows an announcement earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show that the automaker would begin producing its Optima mid-size sedan at the US plant.
The planned expansion includes the plant’s stamping, welding, paint and general assembly shops. The expansion will make room for the 2012 Optima to join the company’s Sorento crossover utility vehicle which is already built at the plant.
Kia and its parent company Hyundai, who have long fought to be taken seriously by rivals and consumers in the US, have hit their stride with efficient attractive and desirable vehicles that appear to be bargains compared with competitors’ products. The company has also been able to step ahead of other foreign automakers due to the shortages of Japanese vehicles resulting from the March earthquake and tsunami in that country.
New data shows the number of crashes involving teen drivers is higher on certain roads and highways in Texas, according to Allstate.
Interstate 45 in Harris County had more car crashes involving teen drivers than any other roadway in Texas between 2006 and 2010, according to the data provided to Allstate by the Texas Department of Transportation.
Interstate 10, also in Harris County, had the second highest, and Interstate 10 in Bexar County had the third most.
Motor Vehicle Crashes by Roadway and County Involving Drivers Age 15-19 from 2006-2010 in Texas:
Texas is set to join numerous other states across the country that have begun cracking down on texting while driving.
The Texas House of Representatives has taken action to reduce the number of accidents relating to distractions caused not only by texting, but by sending instant messages and emails while driving.
The Texas House approved a bill on June 4 that will place a ban on sending and receiving texts, emails and IMs (instant messages) while driving. This bill is one of the first to deal with the barrage of other distracting actions available on cellphones that have become more popular with recent technological advancements.
Many Texas cities already have their own ordinances banning texting and cellphone usage, such as Austin, El Paso, Dallas and San Antonio.
However, according to Gainesville Police Department Public Information Officer Belva McClinton, the city of Gainesville does not have any ordinances of this nature.
The Click It or Ticket campaign will be in full effect with statewide overtime seat belt enforcement through June 4. Daily enforcement traffic safety checkpoints and saturation patrols will be conducted day & night by 24 state, local, and municipal police agencies statewide. Much of the enforcement will occur in the afternoons and evenings when the majority of unrestrained injuries and fatal crashes occur, according to the Milford Beacon.
Currently, Delaware’s unrestrained fatal crashes are out pacing this time last year. At this time last year 35% of the fatal vehicle occupants were not wearing seat belts compared to 46% currently.
Delaware law requires drivers and all passengers, including those in the back seat, to wear a seat belt. An officer can pull over a driver if he sees any person in the vehicle not wearing a seat belt, even if there is no other violation. Officers will be issuing citations for seat belt violations as part of a zero tolerance policy. The ticket, which goes to the driver no matter who is unbuckled in the vehicle, is a $25 fine plus court costs, which can eventually total as much as $70.
Participating agencies include Dewey, Dover, Elsmere, Felton, Georgetown, Laurel, Milford, Millsboro, New Castle City, New Castle County, Newark, Newport, Rehoboth, Seaford, Wilmington, Wyoming, and Delaware State Police.
Since New Jesery did away with mandatory vehicle safety inspections required to get a valid registration sticker, inspection and fixing of certain items that would have been required for the eliminated safety portion of the motor vehicle evaluation process seem to have slipped from the consciousness of the driving public.
At least that’s what their mechanics are saying after the mechanical, or safety inspection portion, of the process was eliminated in August of 2010. State officials said they’ve seen fewer vehicles come to state inspection stations for emissions testing, which was partly attributed to new regulations exempting new cars from being inspected for five years.
A survey of members of the the New Jersey Gas-Convenience Store Retailers Association said that the number of customers having inspections performed has declined by “significant numbers” and that drivers were putting off the types of mechanical repairs previously needed to pass the state’s safety inspection, when items are brought to their attention.
“Our members are finding two things: A lot of vehicles aren’t getting inspected period, and some drivers are under the impression they don’t need the emissions inspection,” Sal Risalvato, executive director of the association, told the Asbury Park Press. “When we (mechanics) find things and bring it to their attention, they’re choosing not to do certain things, like replace a cracked windshield, or they put it off.”
Bad tires and faulty brakes are the biggest safety concerns and could lead to an accident, Risalvato said.
Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company is pursuing a plan to appoint 25 new agency owners by the end of 2011, the company announced June 1.
Allstate New Jersey, one of the state's largest insurance companies, is targeting successful, self-motivated professionals for a career as an Allstate exclusive agent. Unlike typical entrepreneurships, Allstate New Jersey provides its new agents with essential tools and resources to help them get off to a great start, including: insurance product education, expertise from company sales consultants, customizable marketing and advertising materials, and performance incentives. The company currently has approximately 270 agents and financial representatives throughout the state.
In addition, new and existing Allstate New Jersey agencies are projected to hire hundreds of licensed sales professionals and personal financial representatives. These positions involve selling life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, and other financial services products.
"The Allstate New Jersey opportunity is encouraging news for entrepreneurs looking for a chance to excel in a down economy," said Dale Schueller, regional sales leader, Allstate New Jersey. "If you do not have an insurance background, we will provide you with education to help position you for success."
The Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) is a group of about 80 representatives from different companies and associations that focuses on preserving competition of auto repair parts by keeping the availability of quality, lower-cost alternative collision repair parts for consumers. Eileen Sottile, a representative for QPC who has been instrumental in getting legislation together for the organization to present to Congress, gave a legislative update to Autobody News on the group's upcoming endeavors now that there is a new Congress on the hill.
QPC came about in response to a 2005 patent infringement suit that Ford brought to the International Trade Commission against Keystone, alleging design patent infringement of exterior collision repair parts for the 2005 F-150.
It was after this case that coalition members realized they "needed a permanent change to the patent laws," said Sottile.
According to Sottile, up to that point people in the aftermarket crash part industry didn't think they would have design patent issues on cosmetic parts.
Ford brought yet another lawsuit against LKQ/Keystone following the F-150 case, and Sottile said that without a change in the patent laws carmakers can continually come back with lawsuits on a part-by-part basis and bankrupt the aftermarket parts industry.
QPC was created in response to these issues to try to find a solution. This group represents all aspects of the repair industry, including; insurers, collision shops, seniors, retailers and aftermarket parts companies and manufacturers. Some consumer groups have also voiced their support for QPC's legislative endeavors, although they are not QPC members.