INDUSTRY NEWS (1285)
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ALLDATA LLC, a provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for the professional automotive service and collision repair industries, recently announced the successful arrest and prosecution of a software counterfeiting operation. The company has a long-standing program dedicated to tracking down illegal sales of ALLDATA products, an effort which routinely results in prosecution.
Repairer-Only Meeting Focuses on Shops’ Response to Key Industry Issues at April CIC Phoenix MeetingWritten by John Yoswick
Insurer-mandated parts procurement systems, and I-CAR’s decision not to follow through with its plans to work with automakers to identify and close the gaps in existing collision repair procedures, dominated discussion at a repairer-only meeting held in Phoenix in April.
Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, led the “Repairer Roundtable” meeting, but said it was less tied to any one organization than to an over-arching goal of providing repairers a place to discuss and establish objectives without the influence of other industry segments.
“I think our industry has become well-informed,” Schulenburg said. “There is a great network of information going in and out of the associations, and from the trade press. But just being informed isn’t enough. We need to be able to strategize as an industry and have a plan. Being informed without having a plan won’t get us there. That’s part of what this meeting is, to formulate our voice.”
General Motors is revamping its service parts program and giving incentives to dealerships to increase their inventory for more same-day repairs and to buy more of those parts directly from the factory, Automotive News recently reported.
However dealers and their parts managers have expressed serious concerns about the inventory cost and impact of the Service Lane Parts program. GM estimates that the majority of dealerships will spend $6,000 to $10,000 to buy the additional inventory, but worried dealers also believe it may result in buying parts that won’t move as quickly as GM believes, wasting valuable shelf space as well as money.
A Houston, Texas-based personal injury attorney has filed suit against Safelite and Toyota on behalf a Montana woman who he says lost both her husband and young daughter in a rollover crash, in which the windshield allegedly separated from the vehicle.
The attorney, Rob Ammons, contends Safelite had replaced the windshield on the vehicle involved, while Safelite argues its claims division processed the claim on behalf of another glass shop.
"While traveling on a North Dakota highway one December afternoon, the family's 2005 Toyota Tundra contacted an icy patch and went out of control. The pickup crossed the highway's median and rolled over," Rob Ammons said in a news release.
"Safelite, who had installed a windshield on the Tundra, was also named as a defendant," the document continues. "According to the lawsuit, the windshield separated from the pickup in this crash and exacerbated the movement of the roof's pillars. As a result, the driver and rear seat passenger were partially ejected from the pickup, despite the fact that they were wearing their seatbelts."
Ammons lists Safelite as a defendant because he contends the company installed the windshield on the pickup, according to the release.
Safelite's senior corporate counsel has another take: "Safelite typically does not comment on pending litigation. However, in this tragic case, after a preliminary investigation we determined that Safelite AutoGlass did not perform the windshield replacement," says Brian DiMasi, Safelite's senior corporate counsel.
"Rather, Safelite Solutions, the claims management business, processed the plaintiff's vehicle glass claim on behalf of another glass shop who performed the replacement," he adds. "We are hopeful that we will be voluntarily dismissed from the case."
When asked about how "The Safelite Advantage" warranty comes into play, Melina Metzger, the company's public relations manager says, "Safelite's warranty is for Safelite AutoGlass. Safelite Solutions doesn't warranty other shops' work."
Ammons and his law firm have successfully sued Ford, GM, Continental Tire and Cooper Tire in rollover cases in the past year.
AudaExplore (formerly the U.S. operations of Audatex North America, Inc. and Explore Information Services), a provider of automotive claims, underwriting and information solutions, has exceeded $3 million in software donations to the Collision Repair Education Foundation since the launch of its Audatex Educational Institutions Program in 2010.
To date, more than 137 collision repair school programs in 35 states across the U.S. have benefited from in-kind donations of the company’s estimating software through the program’s partnership with the Foundation.
Matrix System recently promoted David Brunori to division president of Quest Automotive Products (QAP).
Brunori has 30 years of experience in the collision repair and restoration market and has been with Matrix System Automotive Finishes for 20 years.
Brunori currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Collision Repair Education Foundation, the Oakland Schools Education Foundation, and as an adviser for the Oakland Schools' Technical Campus–Southwest. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a graduate degree in business management.
“Being named division president is an honor and a major accomplishment in my professional career,” said Brunori. “I have always tried to follow very simple guidelines: have a vision, lead people and stay focused. I am looking forward to see what the future has in store.”
I-CAR®, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, recently donated $200,000 to the Collision Repair Education Foundation.
The donation made by I-CAR is the largest monetary donation that the Collision Repair Education Foundation has received since its founding in 1991 and it will support the organization’s commitment to philanthropic and collision repair education activities that promote and enhance career opportunities in the industry.
State Farm Insurance, the nation’s largest private automotive insurer, recently elected to settle a lawsuit with Ray Gunder, who had sued the company on behalf of his customer, for underpayments of labor rates and paint and materials.
Attorney Brent Geohagan, legal counsel for Ray Gunder and Gunder’s Auto Center, recently received a letter from State Farm’s legal counsel stating that while they were not admitting to any wrongdoing or liability, they elected to provide full payment for the disputed amount of $553.77 to settle a lawsuit that Gunder had filed on behalf of his customer. State Farm agreed to pay the disputed amount and Gunder’s legal fees.
Assured Performance has partnered with Toyota Motor Sales to offer parts rebates to collision repair businesses nationally, the company announced this week.
Assured Performance Network recently named Aaron Clark as vice president of national certification and network development.
Toyota will participate in the 100% Write OEM Collision Parts Reward Program that includes a consumer “certificate of authenticity,” rebate incentive and other benefits for participating body shops.
Approximately 3,000 shops participate in Assured Performance Network’s program, which provides a rebate to repairers when a vehicle is repaired utilizing all-new Toyota collision repair parts.
“We have a quality commitment to our Toyota brand vehicle owners to ensure they are able to receive a proper and safe repair on the vehicles we sell,” said Jerry Raskind, wholesale parts marketing manager, Toyota Motor Sales. “We are excited to introduce programs that help us fulfill our obligations to our customers.”
The program uses an electronic auditing system that ensures that the shop repaired the vehicle using all-new OEM collision parts to repair the vehicle.
The system is provided to the shop at no charge and does not affect existing wholesale dealer discounts or dealer choice.
To find out more about the reward program, visit OECollisionParts.com.
The National Auto Body Council (NABC) recently announced that an Operation Comfort Fundraising Kit–complete with camera-ready artwork for posters, flyers, donation cards and envelopes–is now available on its website to make it easier for collision industry related companies to participate in the NABC’s $1.5 million Operation Comfort Capital Campaign.
The NABC is spearheading industry-wide efforts to raise funds to purchase, renovate and equip a 30,000-sq-ft. training facility in San Antonio, Texas, for Operation Comfort’s AutoMotivation program.
The Society of Collision Repair Specialist will host a Repairer's Roundtable on Wednesday, April 3 in Phoenix, AZ.
The Roundtable is set for 8:30 a.m. to noon in the Phoenix Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency, 122 North Second Street in Phoenix.