The GCIA held their first meeting of 2012 on January 19 at the MAADA Headquarters in Atlanta.

The meeting’s speaker was Dave Gruskos, President of Reliable Automotive Equipment, a New Jersey company that provides repair equipment along with training. Reliable Automotive Equipment’s intention is to support new technology and provide their customers with the correct resources to repair vehicles consistent with manufacturers approved methods and procedures.

Recently, Dave presented at a well-received course during the 2011 SCRS Repairer Driven Education at SEMA. Dave discussed the new repair procedure when working with Aluminum and high strength steel to the 50 or so attendees at the GCIA meeting.

One thing discussed during the GCIA meeting was that heat is the enemy to high strength steel. Some manufacturer’s do not want techs welding at all on these vehicles and have developed ways to rivet and apply adhesives to perform the repair. Dave also talked about self-piercing rivets and flow-form rivets that have to be punched out, not drilled. Then adhesives are used in conjunction with the rivets to create a solid repair.

The equipment and training investment needed to perform these repairs is well over $100,000, not to mention the expensive rivets and adhesives. Dave also reminded everyone to follow the OE recommended repair procedures when working with these vehicles and use OEM parts. Many times the warranties are voided if salvage or A/M parts are used.

Attendees were captivated by the part of Dave’s presentation concerning air bag reaction time. Air bag reaction timing is measured in milliseconds and the timing is critical to occupant safety. Dave had a couple of videos showing the effects of a slowed reaction in air bag timing. The results were shocking; the air bag actually deployed late, the occupant’s head (actually a melon) hit the steering wheel and then the air bag deployed. The melon absolutely exploded. If this would have been a real person, there would have been serious injuries or even death.

For more information about Dave and Reliable Automotive Equipment please visit www.raeservice.com.

In other news, the GCIA will be performing their 6th Annual GCIA Labor Rate survey beginning on March 5. CSi Complete will again perform the survey. This year the group will survey the rate for repairing high strength steels. Since there are different repair procedures and equipment that must be used, the group wants to know what shops are charging for this type of repair. Please visit gacollisionindustry.wordpress.com.

Published in SOUTHEAST NEWS

In a December 5 letter to California Senators and Assembly Members, representatives of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, The California New Car Dealers Association, the California Autobody Association, and Consumer Attorneys of California, voice their opposition to "Imitation" Aftermarket Crash Parts Legislation. The letter reads:

The above-identified organizations and signatories write to inform you of their collective opposition to legislation that promotes non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) crash parts as the functional equivalent of OEM parts. [Nonoriginal Equipment Manufacturer (Non-OEM) crash parts are parts made by a party other than the original car manufacturer without the dimensions, design specifications, tolerances or other information known to the original equipment manufacturer.]

Existing law requires insurers that compel consumers to accept non-OEM parts when vehicles are repaired to inform consumers that "imitation" parts will be used and to warrant the "imitation" parts are "of like kind, quality, safety, fit and performance" as OEM parts. For years, the insurance industry and off-shore, aftermarket parts industry have tried to weaken the law so they may compel unsuspecting consumers to accept inferior non-OEM parts.

We support existing law and oppose efforts to weaken it for the following reasons: Existing law promotes disclosure and fair repair practices. Too many non-OEM parts are clearly inferior to OEM parts. For example, see the Bureau of Automotive Repair study on this issue.

Also, Consumer Reports has debunked the argument that aftermarket "tin" parts are comparable to OEM parts. Use of non-OEM parts may impair warranties and reduce the value of used vehicles.

Vehicles are increasingly complex, designed to dissipate crash energy by collapsing as engineered, and rely on multiple sensors to immediately deploy airbags upon contact. The use of "imitation" parts may impair these highly-integrated functions and endanger passengers.

If approached to author legislation to unfairly promote the use of "imitation" crash parts, please contact us. We request the opportunity to discuss this important consumer protection issue with you before introduction.

Curt Augustine, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

Brian Maas, California New Car Dealers Association

David McClune, California Autobody Association

Nancy Peverini, Consumer Attorneys of California

Published in WESTERN NEWS

Mike Rose's Auto Body, a group of shops in the San Francisco Bay Area, announced the addition of their eighth location on January 17.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to open a shop in the City of Lafayette. We will be able to make it more convenient for our customers in the Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and Rossmoor areas,” said Mike Rose, founder and owner of Mike Rose’s Auto Body.

This year marks the 40th year in business for the family-owned business operating in the East Bay.

The new facility is located in the heart of Lafayette at 3430 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette CA. The shop's hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the shop's Manager is Jason Laus.

The other seven facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area are located in, Walnut Creek (2), Concord (2), Pittsburg, Antioch, and Brentwood. The addition of the eighth facility will enhance the presence of Mike's Auto Body in the East Bay and enable Mike’s to bring complete convenience and flexibility to their customers and insurance partners.

Published in WESTERN NEWS

Erie Insurance, an I-CAR Gold Class Professionals® business, has equipped its staff of Auto Physical Damage Appraisers with the latest training available in the industry, providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to help increase CSI scores, improve operational efficiencies, and minimize repair mistakes.

I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, has announced January 12 that Erie Insurance is now one of only five insurance organizations to have achieved the industry-recognized I-CAR Gold Class Professionals® designation as a corporation. Insurance businesses can earn the Gold Class designation at a corporate level, as Erie has, or at a business location.

John Van Alstyne, I-CAR CEO & President stated, “By achieving the Gold Class designation, Erie Insurance has shown a dedication to both customers and employees by investing in training that will provide valuable services. Through Erie’s commitment to I-CAR training, Erie Auto Physical Damage Appraisers now possess role-based knowledge that can improve estimating accuracy and help reduce cycle time, both of which lead to increased customer satisfaction.” Van Alstyne further added, “With the rapid rate of change in vehicle technology, continuous role-relevant training is essential. It is another key driver to customer satisfaction, and, ultimately business success.”

Jim Brown, Erie VP and Manager, Material Damage Department, said, “Erie Insurance is committed to delivering top notch service to our customers and is focused on providing our staff with the training and resources needed in today’s collision repair industry. By providing our customers with accurate estimates, we can improve claims accuracy, which will allow us to continue providing our policy holders that have been in automobile accidents with the best repair plan possible.”

Businesses that have earned the I-CAR Gold Class Professionals® business designation are required to achieve high levels of training as well as maintain ongoing annual training.

“I-CAR is pleased to designate Erie Insurance as a Gold Class business and provide the staff at Erie with a training path that will improve their overall operational efficiencies,” explained Joyce Kasmer, I-CAR Director of Business Development.

For more information please visit www.i-car.com.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

In a letter released December 20th, 2011, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) provided commentary on an article written by USA Today contributing editor, Adam Belz, and entitled, Auto body shops say they, not insurers, should set costs.

The letter from SCRS counters points raised in the initial article, and provides information supporting the assertion that the property & casualty insurance industry's direct influence over collision repair market pricing, has impacted both the consumer and the small businesses that make up the collision repair industry. Several key components of the letter identify that:

- Property and casualty insurance carriers have become increasingly involved in activities that extend beyond the business of insurance, while interjecting themselves into collision repair business activities.

- The responsibility to compensate for fair and reasonable costs of the loss is significantly different than defining what is fair and reasonable.

- Average gross collision appraisal values have remained stagnant comparing the first and third quarters of 2009, 2010 and 2011, and older data indicates that the average appraisal value has remained flat for at least the last 7 to 8 years; meanwhile, consumer auto insurance premium costs continue to rise and the Insurance Information Institute recently reported that private auto insurance is the most profitable line of insurance coverage in the United States.

- The insurance industry's approach to establishing a singular prevailing labor rate charge for all businesses within a market fails to recognize the existence of reasonable variance between competitive businesses.

- When the repair shop has entered into both the DRP contract with the carrier, and an authorization to repair contract with the vehicle owner, it is not necessarily as simple as insurers "promoting poor quality work," but it becomes a question of who has more influence over the repair facility's decision making in the repair process, and whose interest drives those decisions.

In summary, the association states that, "the question is not IF insurance carriers directly impact collision repair market pricing, but rather IF their approach and purpose is appropriate. Are we really talking about saving consumer's money, or are we talking about increasing insurance company profits at the expense of their policyholders and the small businesses who serve them?"

For more information please visit www.scrs.com or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

Meguiar’s Inc., a 3M Company, has come to the aid of 676 secondary and post-secondary collision programs across the country by donating sets of their Unigrit Fine Grade Blending and Finishing Discs through the Collision Repair Education Foundation. The donation, in total equaling a retail value of $600,000, will ease collision department budgets by providing students the opportunity to work with up-to-date supplies. The gift from Meguiar’s helped the largest amount of schools in one donation in the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s history.

“Since 2008, 3M has provided over $2 million in product donations to the Collision Repair Education Foundation and these have greatly impacted instructor’s ability to properly instruct collision students,” stated Collision Repair Education Foundation Executive Director, Scott Kruger. “On behalf of collision students and instructors nationwide, we thank Meguiar’s and 3M for their continued support and invite additional collision industry businesses to follow 3M’s lead in providing product donations to secondary and post-secondary collision school programs.”

Northern Virginia Community College (Alexandria, VA) Collision Repair Instructor Geoffrey Brown said, “Thank you so much for Meguiar’s very generous donation. These sorts of donations really help our program by being able to expose our students to products and techniques that we could not afford to provide out of our limited budget. The students are already excited about being able to get to use them and are now looking forward to next semester where I am sure we will put them to good use. Thank you Meguiar’s!”

“Being able to assist in the development of our nations young professionals is an extremely gratifying feeling and one that our company is proud to be able to take part in” explains John Dillon, Global Vice President of Meguiar’s Professional and Marine Division. “We are excited at the ability of collision repair students that are supported by this foundation to have the opportunity to have first hand experience with our product and to learn the proper techniques to use them. It is a complete win-win opportunity for everyone involved.”

For additional information about 3M visit www.3m.com/automotive and to find out more about Meguiar’s Car Care Products visit www.meguiars.com

Industry members and companies interested in supporting secondary and post-secondary school’s collision programs through monetary and/or in-kind product donations should contact Associate Director of Development, Brandon Eckenrode at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 847-463-5244.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

The Allstate Corporation announced January 6 that the Superior Court of New Jersey has entered judgment in favor of Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Company, and dismissed all claims in the franchise lawsuits filed against Allstate New Jersey.

Last year, three exclusive agents filed lawsuits seeking to prevent the termination of their agency agreements for failing to meet certain business objectives. They alleged they had franchise relationships with Allstate New Jersey and were protected under the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act. The plaintiffs' application to stop their termination was denied.

The court determined that the agents were not franchisees and have no protections under the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act. The court noted in its decision that the "insurance industry has never been found by any court in New Jersey, or elsewhere, to be home to an insurance company franchisor, or agent franchisee."

Allstate has maintained that exclusive agents are independent contractor agents and not franchisees. The court decision affirms the company's position.

Please visit www.allstate.com or call 1-800 Allstate® for more information.

Published in NORTHEAST NEWS

Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced into the House of Representatives on December 30 a bill aiming to do away with the $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicle car buyers, titled HR3768.

Kelly, who owns a Chevy Car Dealership in Butler, Penn., has served in the House representing the 3rd District of Pennsylvania since 2010.

The bill, formally titled: "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the credit for plug-in electric drive vehicles", would amend the IRS code section related to the electric car purchase tax credit, to terminate the tax credit.

The $7,500 tax credit came into being in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA), whose main purpose was the bailout of the financial industry following the meltdown of Sept 2008. The credit was put in place by former President George W. Bush, and continued by President Barack Obama.

Kelly's personal experience as a dealership owner is suspected to have fueled his introduction of this bill. Kelly's dealership, which was founded by his father, was almost axed during the GM bankruptcy. When the Obama Administration Auto Task Force announced plans to shut down more than 1,900 dealerships, including Kelly's own dealership, his response was to fight the decision to close his dealership, in which he was successful.

Reports are that after avoiding shut-down Kelly's own car dealership took extra steps to shun the Chevy Volt, even going to far as to fire an employee who consented to GM's request that they bring in a Volt.

"I can stock a Chevy Cruze, which is about a $17,500 car and turns every 30 to 40 days out of inventory or I can have a Volt, which never turns and creates nothing for me on the lot except interest costs," said Kelly in October. "There is no market for this car."

Kelly echoes the main argument espoused by many anti-EV advocates—-that electric cars are simply toys for rich people. Kelly says that subsidizing the purchases of upper-income individuals is not the correct course of action to take during these difficult financial times. According to Kelly, the $7,500 credit goes to the "few who can actually afford to buy an electric car."

Published in NORTHEAST NEWS

Ron Ertley, founder of Ertley MotorWorld in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and operater of Ertley Dealership in Moosic, PA, passed away January 7 from cancer at 79.

Ertley, founder, owner and CEO of Ertley MotorWorld was remembered as an innovator in the automobile sales business by co-workers and friends at a service held January 12 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Wilkes-Barre, according to the Scranton Times-Tribune.

After graduating from Duke University in North Carolina and receiving an honorable discharge from the Air Force, Ertley returned to eastern Pennsylvania to manage an Oldsmobile dealership with his father. Ertley grew to own the dealership after his father's retirement.

In 1991 Ertley became the first in the area to combine dealerships--founding Ertley MotorWorld in 1991 with the help of his friend and colleague, J. David Power of JD Power and Associates. Ertley MotorWorld was a powerhouse in the eastern Pennsylvania area and was considered the area's first auto mall with 12 dealerships in one location.

"Main thing I remember is his innovation and willingness to try whatever the latest and greatest technology and techniques were to move forward in the automotive industry," Rick Osick, who worked with Mr. Ertley at MotorWorld, told the Scranton Times-Tribune. "He was known as an innovator as far as technology and methods to move a retail business along."

Ertley eventually sold Ertley MotorWorld to investors, and it still exists today, as MotorWorld.

Ertley remained in the auto dealership industry, opening a Chrylser-Jeep-Dodge-Kia dealership in Moosic.

As a member of the board of the JD Power Superdealer Rountable, a director of the Pennsylvania Automobile Association, a commissioner on the state Board of Transportation and the president of several other automobile dealer boards, Ertley was very active in the Pennsylvania automotive industry.

Published in NORTHEAST NEWS

The San Diego chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) will hold their first meeting for 2012 on Tuesday, January 24 at Tom Ham's Lighthouse at 7 p.m.

The California Autobody Association’s (CAA) incoming President for 2012, Dave Picton of G & R Body Shop, Sacramento, will be presenting Dale Delmege of Chelsea Group, Inc., and DD Partners, Inc., with an honorary lifetime membership award in recognition for his dedication to the industry, the CAA, and members. Dale has donated countless hours educating CAA chapters and their members with his thought provoking presentations.

Dale is a founder and past director of the National Auto Body Council, and also a founder, past director and chairman of the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association. He was Chairman of CIC for 1999 and 2000, and was subsequently elected to the Collision Industry Hall of Eagles. In 2001 the Society of Collision Repair Specialists named Delmege a lifetime member, one of only two lifetime members who is not a shop owner.

The chapter will also be swearing-in new 2012 officers and conduct a round table discussion about industry related issues and new 2012 California laws.

Meet and Greet starts at 6:30pm, meeting starts promptly at 7:00pm.

Please RSVP before January 20 by contacting Hop Sanchez at 760-727-2392.

Published in WESTERN NEWS
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