Thursday, 12 January 2012 16:47

Nevada Texting While Driving Ban Takes Effect

Back in June, Nevada became the 34st state to ban texting while driving. Nevada also passed a law banning handheld cell-phone use while behind the wheel, although hands-free cell phone use (such as through Bluetooth) remained legal.

Officers began issuing warnings in October, although the law officially hit the books January 1, 2012.

Las Vegas police wasted no time in enforcing the state’s new ban on driving while texting or talking on a handheld device, according to Insurance Journal. Police Sgt. Peter Kisfalvi told the Las Vegas Sun that officers wrote more than 230 citations in the first week of the year.

Fines are $50 (first offense), then $100 (second) and then $250 (subsequent violations) now that the warning period is over.

Enforcement of the Nevada bans is primary, meaning drivers can be stopped and cited for that reason alone.

The bill behind the law, SB 140, was approved by Gov. Brian Sandoval, who had made it clear that he would support a statewide ban on text messaging while driving. The Assembly’s final vote came May 30, 2011, and the Senate signed off June 4.

Sen. Shirley Breeden, who authored the bill, added handheld cell phones to the 2011 version of the bill; her 2010 version failed to pass.

The Senate lowered fines to match the Assembly’s version in order to get the distracted driving bill through.

Published in WESTERN NEWS

Ford Motor Company announced on January 6 plans to create and open its first dedicated research lab in Silicon Valley early this year, further growing the company's commitment to make technology affordable for millions.

"Ford has an incredible heritage of driving innovation in the transportation and manufacturing sectors during the past 107 years," said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president of Research and Innovation. "Now it's time to prepare for the next 100 years, ushering in a new era of collaboration and finding new partners to help us transform what it means to be an automaker."

Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally will elaborate on the new areas of focus for the forthcoming Silicon Valley lab, plus Ford's latest industry-leading technologies including SYNC®, EcoBoost™, MyKey® and inflatable rear safety belts, when he returns to the International CES on Jan. 11 for the Innovation Power Panel keynote. This will be Ford's fourth consecutive keynote presentation at CES.

Ford Research and Innovation, the company's advanced engineering arm, will open the new Silicon Valley lab in the first quarter, helping ensure Ford keeps pace with consumer trends and aggressively prepares for the future by developing mobility solutions to harness the power of seamless connectivity, cloud computing and clean technology.

Published in WESTERN NEWS

Boyd Group Income Fund announced December 21 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Master Collision Repair, Inc., which owns a total of eight collision repair centers in the Tampa, Florida market area under the trade name Master Collision Repair. The acquisition is expected to be immediately beneficial to the Fund's earnings and cash flows.

"The acquisition of Master is very strategic as it gives us an industry-leading platform from which to grow in the attractive Florida market, further demonstrating our commitment to expanding our business," said Brock Bulbuck, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boyd Group. "MCR's business model and customer base are similar to Boyd's, which should result in a smooth integration with our existing business. Further, we assess that there is a tremendous opportunity for accretive add-on growth in Florida, building from the foundation and base of MCR. The acquisition of Master also further solidifies Boyd's leading industry position and enhances our opportunity to capitalize on the trend of U.S. insurance companies consolidating Direct Repair Program volumes and showing increased preference for dealing with large multi-location operators. The Boyd Group, currently the largest multi- location collision repair operator in North America in terms of annual sales and number of locations, continues to look for opportunities to grow its operation. We remain focused on successful execution and integration of acquisitions to increase our profitability and drive value for our unitholders."

The transaction, valued at approximately $11.5 to 12.0 million subject to working capital adjustments, was completed on January 4, 2012. Funding for the transaction was completed through a combination of cash, third party financing and a seller note. The Fund will not be issuing any new equity to fund the transaction and, therefore, the transaction will not result in equity dilution to unitholders.

MCR is a leading provider of automotive collision repair services in the Tampa Bay area, a market in west central Florida. With eight operating locations and additional locations under consideration, MCR generated sales of approximately $20 million in the 12 months ended October 31, 2011. The Fund forecasts that MCR will add annual Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization of approximately $2.0 - $2.5 million to its consolidated EBITDA, including synergies. Upon completion of the acquisition, the Boyd Group will operate a total of 175 locations spanning 14 U.S. states and 4 Canadian provinces.

To view the Boyd Group's expected North American coverage after the acquisition of Master, please visit: http://www.boydgroup.com/i/maps/BoydGroupMap2011-Florida.jpg

Published in SOUTHEAST NEWS

The Van Tuyl Group, an Irving, Texas-based company with more than 70 automotive dealerships across the country, has announced the establishment of the first annual Charity Super Bowl flag football tournament in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The event will be held Saturday, February 4, 2012 at the Stampede Sports Complex in Southlake, Texas—the day before Super Bowl XLVI takes place in Indianapolis.

The Charity Super Bowl will be co-sponsored by the Van Tuyl Group, PPG, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car®. All proceeds are to benefit Trinity River Mission, a volunteer-based, community learning center dedicated to supporting the development of educational success in the children, youth, and families of West Dallas.

The day-long Charity Super Bowl will feature 30 4-on-4 teams competing in a double-elimination tournament. There is an entry fee of $350 per team, with each team allowed to carry a roster of up to eight players. An awards presentation will be held at the end of the day. In addition to enjoying the games, fans attending the Charity Super Bowl can win raffle prizes and participate in a silent auction.

Published in SOUTHWEST NEWS

Car-O-Liner®, a global provider of collision repair equipment to the automotive aftermarket, is pleased to announce participation in the Porsche Approved Collision Center Program as an official approved supplier of collision repair products. 

The Porsche Approved Collision Center Program provides a network of factory-authorized collision repair facilities; each trained and equipped to provide collision services that match the quality of Porsche automobiles. Assuring high standards of performance and quality requires skilled and trained professionals who adhere strictly to Porsche restoration procedures. Porsche Approved Collision Centers commit to these procedures, and to the use of genuine Porsche parts, materials, tools and equipment. Porsche Approved Collision Centers are also continuously supported and monitored by factory technical personnel.

“Car-O-Liner is pleased to be a part of the Porsche Approved Collision Center Program,” said Shawn Hart, Director of Technical Services for Car-O-Liner Company. “Adding Car-O-Liner to their approved equipment offering means greater flexibility without compromising accuracy. With our EVO system, technicians will be able to hold new components in place while making repairs, as well as measure the vehicle to find any hidden damage.”

As an OEM approved supplier, Car-O-Liner will offer quality products to meet the needs of over 60 collision centers across the U.S. and Canada.

About the Porsche Approved Collision Center Program  
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (“PCNA”) and its authorized dealerships wish to enhance the pleasure of owning a Porsche through the provision of professional service throughout the ownership experience. In order to promote that goal, PCNA has developed the Porsche Approved Collision Center Program (“PACC Program”) to ensure that the “Porsche Perfect Ownership Experience” extends to customers who require the services of a repair center. The PACC Program seeks to ensure excellent service and high-quality repairs to all Porsche vehicles in need of collision services.  For more information regarding the PACC Program, please visit www.porschecollisioncenter.com.

Visit www.car-o-liner.com for more information.

Published in Product News

The issue of data ownership is of ever-increasing importance to both consumers and businesses as technology expands the landscape of digital trade, and the collision repair industry is not immune to concerns relative to ulterior use of business generated data. During the past several decades, the estimating and management system companies have increased their product offerings beyond core estimating and management functions for repair facilities. Their scope of services presently includes the collection, generalized aggregation, analysis, and sale or provision of repairer data to third parties.  Collision repairers contend that:

- The collection of data is unilaterally demanded as a point of sale requirement for every estimating system option offered in the market, barring repairers that wish to provide electronically generated estimates from having the option of keeping their business data from being utilized for unauthorized purposes. 

- The information that is harvested from the collision repairer's system is being used for purposes other than those that the subscriber had intended when contracting to use the estimating system software.

- The information is used by secondary customers in ways that may ultimately be detrimental to the subscribing end-user who generated the data.

When this issue was first broached several years ago, one primary response on the part of the estimating system providers was that the only data being captured was that obtained via the upload of Direct Repair (DRP) estimates, and those end-users had implicitly waived any data ownership rights by agreeing to upload estimates as a condition of their participation in the (DRP) program.  They also claim that no privacy rights have been violated since the information is all collected in a depersonalized manner, and presented as an overall aggregation of data collected. While we continue to contest the validity of both positions, the advent of cloud based platforms has expanded the data collection potential to include any businesses utilizing the server-based programs. It has also expanded the potential of data mining from only estimating programs to the possible inclusion of information generated from business management programs or other technology based service platforms.

The Information Providers may seek to reassure the collision industry that they have taken all necessary steps to safeguard repairer/consumer information from data privacy breaches. While the data may remain safeguarded from threats in the traditional sense of electronic security, the members of the collision industry remain concerned that the information is not necessarily safeguarded from the technology firms themselves who have built in contractual permissions to force the industry to permit utilization of the data in ways that were not intended or expressly approved by their customer base. We believe it is long overdue for our industry to have the express option  to either "Opt In" or "Opt out" of allowing technology firms to have access to ancillary uses of our data as a point of sale requirement to utilize the necessary tools once intended to aid the industry in running our businesses.

This statement serves as a public request from the collision repair industry to Audatex, CCC, Mitchell and other technology firms who collect data. The industry seeks removal of contractual clauses within End User License Agreements which require permissive access to aggregate and collect end-user data as a point-of-sale requirement to purchase those programs.  Further, we believe that if a business is to permit their data to be mined, they should be entitled access to an annual report specifically indicating where that data was used, and a list of parties that received reports utilizing data from the user's system. We believe the ability for businesses to choose participation in the data collection process is a reasonable solution, and we look forward to your response.

Published in INDUSTRY NEWS

ABRA Auto Body & Glass, a Minnesota-based multiple-shop operation with locations in 12 U.S. states, announced on January 6 the opening of a state-of-the-art repair center in Roswell, Georgia.

The new facility is located at 740 Holcomb Bridge Road and increases the total number of ABRA repair centers to 113.

Charlie Drake, Vice President of ABRA's Georgia market said, "We are looking forward to servicing customers in the Roswell community. Our mission is to be the best auto body & glass company in America. Opening this center is another important step toward achieving that goal."

The new repair facility is equipped with all the latest technology to maintain high standards and assure top quality repairs. Staff technicians have extensive experience and receive rigorous ongoing industry training.

Duane Rouse, ABRA’s Chief Executive Officer said, “The opening of the Roswell center strengthens our brand in the Georgia market. It’s part of our overall strategy to meet the growing needs of vehicle owners and insurance partners throughout the region.”

For more information please visit www.abraauto.com.

Published in SOUTHEAST NEWS

Eddie Lennox, Founder, Chairman of the Board, and CEO of Service King Collision Repair Centers, the nation's largest employee-owned operator of collision repair centers, announced new leadership appointments of the company on January 4. Lennox announced that Service King's President, Cathy Bonner, is the new Chief Executive Officer. Lennox will continue as Chairman of the Board of Service King.

Lennox said, "Service King has the best leadership team in the collision industry. Cathy Bonner has added seventeen new locations now covering 70% of the Texas population." Lennox added that Bonner's next goal is to lead the second growth phase making Service King a national company by adding assets beyond the Texas borders.

Moving into the President's role is Chris Abraham, currently Vice-President of the Houston Market. Jeff McFadden will take the role of Executive Vice President.

Also joining the executive leadership team in new positions are Eileen Clark, Chief Financial Officer, and Michael Devendorf, Chief Operating Officer.

"This is the future leadership of Service King and I am so excited about the possibilities for us," said Eddie Lennox. "This leadership team has combined, over one hundred years of corporate business experience."

Published in SOUTHWEST NEWS

The city of Houston delayed voting on an ordinance to regulate the automotive repair and service industry affecting every type of business that touches a car, whether it’s a body shop, an independent auto repair shop, a dealership or a big store like Wal-Mart. The council rescheduled the vote for February 15, 2012, after more issues were raised at a hearing held on December 20, 2011, when the council was originally supposed to vote on this ordinance.

This delay presents some new problems to both sides lobbying over the bill--they now have an entirely new city council, sworn in January 3, 2012, to update on the issues.

A new list of council members by district can be seen by clicking HERE, find out which district you reside in by visiting http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/2011/index.html. The Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) would like its members to reach out to the new council and make sure their opinions on this matter are heard.

Kathryn van der Pol, Past President of ASA, Houston Chapter, and co-owner of Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage, is working with the HABA on writing their own version of the ordinance, incorporating what's good about the City's version to present to the new council since Houston Mayor Mayor Annise Parker, wants to pass an ordinance on this issue. Mayor Parker also made some changes to the ordinance, and the version that will be voted on February 15, 2012, can be viewed in its entirety by clicking HERE.

Published in SOUTHWEST NEWS
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 17:47

TIAA Meeting Coming in January

The Texas Independent Automotive Association (TIAA) will hold their monthly members meeting on January 19 at the Barn Door, 8400 N. New Braunfels Ave. San Antonio, TX

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., starting with a networking period. Speakers will begin at 7 p.m. Speakers have not yet been chosen and will be announced shortly before the meeting.

For more information about this meeting and other upcoming events for the association please visit www.tiaa.net.

Published in SOUTHWEST NEWS
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