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The Sacramento Bee has reported that Rocklin, CA, police were able to track down four auto burglary suspects – three adults and a juvenile – on Sunday after investigators found a photograph online of $120 worth of food from Carl’s Jr. that was purchased with a credit card stolen in one of the burglaries.

“I’m glad we caught them,” said Sgt. Scott Horrillo. “Sometimes, technology acts in our favor; sometimes, it doesn’t. This time it did.”

Tavion Spignor, 19, Leroy Jackson, 27, and Malek Morgan, 20, all of Sacramento, were arrested on suspicion of auto burglary, conspiracy, possession of stolen property and unauthorized use of personal ID.

They were being held at the Placer County jail in Auburn on Monday. Bond for Spignor was set at $10,000, while Jackson’s was $20,000. Morgan’s bail had not been set yet.

A 17-year-old male, also from Sacramento, was held at the county’s juvenile detention center. He faces the same charges as the other three.

On Saturday night, between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., the four allegedly broke into four different vehicles that were parked in the Blue Oaks Town Center on Lonetree Boulevard and the nearby Staybridge Suites Hotel parking lots in Rocklin.

According to police, they smashed in car windows and grabbed GPS units, wallets and other items that had been left in plain sight.

Shortly after midnight, one of the victims who had caught a movie at the Blue Oaks Town Center theater came out to find her vehicle burglarized and reported the crime. She learned that about an hour earlier, around 11 p.m., one of her credit cards had been used at the nearby Carl’s Jr. restaurant to pay for $120 worth of food.

Investigators contacted the restaurant manager, who remembered a large drive-through order that was paid by credit card. According to police, the manager, who was not identified, had thought the order was suspicious and had taken down the license plate number of the vehicle.

She also thought she recognized one of the suspects as a student at a local high school, and told detectives that photos from the Carl’s Jr. order had been posted on Instagram.

Katelyn Hubick, 20, who was working as a shift leader at the Carl’s Jr. restaurant Saturday night, gave a slightly different account of what happened. She said that a trainee had taken the order.

“They came through and they said they would pay for the person behind them,” said Hubick.

“I was the one who wrote down the license plate, because I thought it was weird. We never see orders that big, never. And the fact that they would pay for the person behind them, and didn’t know how much that order was, I told (the trainee), ‘This is weird.’ ”

Hubick said the order included five $6 burgers, five orange creme shakes, three barbeque chicken quesadillas, one bacon Swiss chicken sandwich, two double western sandwiches, two orders of fried zucchini, six orders of cross-cut fries, two teriyaki burgers, with added bacon, two barbeque chicken sandwiches, with added bacon, five southwest chicken tacos, with added sour cream. The total came out to $119.95.

Hubick said her twin sister, Danielle, prepared the food while she went outside to get the license plate of the car, a Buick that pulled around and parked in front of the restaurant to wait for the food to be delivered.

“I went out and parked behind them and shined the lights on them and got the license plate,’ she said. “They started acting all weird – they were looking back and fidgeting.”

After they left, Hubick said the trainee decided to snap a picture of the receipt from the order and posted it on Instagram because it was the largest order she had seen.

A friend of the food service worker saw the photo and told her, “I know the person because they posted a photo of all the food,” according to Hubick. The friend had been following the juvenile suspect’s Instagram feed.

Horrillo confirmed that the photos were taken by the juvenile suspect, and that detectives were able to identify him and learn that the suspects were planning to return to Rocklin Sunday night.

Officers were on the lookout for the Buick, which belonged to Spignor. At 9 p.m. Sunday, an officer spotted the Buick speed by him, going west on Sunset Boulevard. The car then pulled into a Walgreens parking lot at Park Drive and Sunset Boulevard.

Horillo said that the suspects went into the Walgreens and were coming out of the store when the officer detained them.

A search of the Buick turned up items that were stolen in the auto burglaries Saturday night, as well as things that were taken in an unreported auto burglary in Roseville about an hour before the Walgreens stop.

Hubick said she was glad that the burglary suspects were caught.

“I think they’re kind of stupid,” she said of the suspects’ postings. “I think social networking is helping to catch people.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 23:11
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Three people were injured at Tesla Motors Inc.'s factory in California on Nov. 13 after a low-pressure aluminum casting press failed, the company said.

Local fire officials said there was no fire at the company's Fremont factory, describing the incident as an "industrial accident."

"There was a failure in a low-pressure aluminum casting press," Tesla said in a statement Wednesday. "Three employees were injured by hot metal from that press."

The company, which makes the Model S electric sedan at the factory, could not be immediately reached for further details.

Shares in Tesla fell after early news reports of the incident but later rebounded.

This is the latest in a string of setbacks for Tesla, which began in early October when a Model S caught fire. There have been three fires so far, two of which occurred after the car struck debris while on the road.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 18:49

Anchor Auto Body Wins Talk of the Town Award 4th Year in a Row

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Anchor Auto Body of Sunnyvale, CA, announced that it won the Talk of the Town Satisfaction Award in the Automotive—Auto Service & Repair category.

It was the fourth straight year Anchor Auto Body won the award, presented jointly by Talk of the Town News, Customer Care News magazine and Celebration Media US.

The Talk of the Town Awards honor companies and professionals that provide excellent customer service as reported by their customers through no-cost, user-review websites, blogs, social networks, business rating services and other honors and accolades. The data is then analyzed by a team of researchers. Anchor Auto Body earned the highest possible rating of five stars for the third year in a row.

"Our staff is committed to ensuring your satisfaction with our courteous customer service and quality repairs," said Betsy Trago, Anchor’s co-owner with husband Tom Trago. "We are passionate about performing our best," she says. "We partner with customers to produce a mutually beneficial performance."

The comprehensive auto body repair shop employs I-CAR-certified employees and is an I-CAR Gold Class Shop, which Trago says is one of the essential parts to giving every customer excellent service.

Amenities offered by Anchor Auto Body include "car check" via the shop's website, where customers can watch the progress of their vehicle's repairs; pick-up and delivery service; rental car assistance; and a clean, comfortable customer lounge.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 16:48

J & L Auto Body Hosts Scion Car Show Benefit Dec. 14

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J & L Body Shop in Sun Valley, CA, is hosting a Scion car club fundraiser, with 100% of the proceeds going to “Toys for Tots,” on Dec. 14th.  They will have music, food and various raffles. The club will also hold a contest for various Scion categories but will also have a few categories open to other vehicle makes. Cars will begin rolling in at 9:00 am, the car show will start at 10:00 and winners will be announced at 3:00pm.

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 16:51
Friday, 01 November 2013 18:13

Body Found in Fire Damaged Body Shop in Hawthorne

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A body was found early Friday, Nov. 1, at an auto body shop that burned, authorities said.

The discovery was said to be made at Earl Scheib Paint and Body, 3252 W. Rosecrans Ave. in Hawthorne, west of Crenshaw, according to Los Angeles County fire dispatcher Rey Dong. The fire broke out around 4:15 a.m. at the shop near Rosecrans Boulevard and Lemoli Avenue. The victim has still not yet been identified, and a cause of the fire was not clear. Officials do not suspect arson as a cause.

The fire took 15-20 minutes to extinguish. It was reported at 4:14 a.m. and was knocked down by 4:43 a.m., the fire dispatcher said.

“Upon performing search and rescue operations, we did find one victim that was a fatality inside,” Batt. Chief Brian Askari told local news.

Hawthorne police said they were conducting a homicide investigation.


Last modified on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 23:29
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The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announced that the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA), an Oregon-based organization serving automotive professionals in the Pacific Northwest has rejoined as an Affiliate Association. NATA serves and represents virtually every segment of the automotive specialty markets in its region, including the collision repair industry. NATA is rooted in the first Oregon automotive association, the Pacific Automotive Trades Association (PATA), formed by ten automotive aftermarket entrepreneurs in 1914. PATA merged with the Oregon Autobody Craftsman Association and the Automotive Service Association of Oregon in July of 2001 to create NATA.

“Any time you have the opportunity to affiliate with the expertise and information found in a national association like SCRS, you do it because of the benefits it ultimately provides to members locally,” said NATA Executive Director Barbara Crest. “SCRS brings us an informed national perspective. They have proven time and again to be a valuable resource that contributes to the success of the industry-the exact kind of partnership that can help collision repairers get up to speed on the issues affecting their businesses. Affiliation will help our members better plan for the future and form strategies that will allow them to grow and thrive.”

“NATA and SCRS share a passion for industry improvement,” said SCRS Chairman Ron Reichen. “Training and education have become more critical than ever in reaching that goal given the growing sophistication of collision repair. Smart resource planning and mastering new technologies is more important than ever, as is motivating qualified men and women to enter our workforce by compensating them appropriately, creating more professional working conditions and improving trade school curricula and apprenticeship programs. NATA has made outstanding efforts to date in addressing these needs in their region. Working with them to find solutions on a regional and national basis is an exciting prospect, and we look forward to it.”

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The October 24, 2013 meeting of the chapter was held at the Brookside Country Club, 1133 Rosemont Ave, Pasadena, California, as usual. President Linda Holcomb was back, assisted by board member Chuck Bistagne. The meeting was dedicated to an update by the CAA lobbyist for the past 20 years, attorney Jack Molodanof. Jack started by praising the work of the new California Department of Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones. Jack said Dave has brought a real focus on the collision industry concerns to his department. In the past a CAA member complaint would go to one staff member and probably get lost in a pile of random concerns. Under Dave Jones, several knowledgeable people have been assigned to our industry and constituent concerns are dealt with quickly.

Jack provided a printout of current Department of Insurance regulations for all members attending the meeting. He said these are valuable negotiating tools that enable a shop to get paid for all necessary line items on an estimate. He was shocked that some shops would accept an insurance company estimate rather than writing their own. He noted that the insurance company and the shop have two different objectives when writing an estimate. The shop, of course, wants to write an accurate estimate of what is needed to return a vehicle to pre-accident condition. The insurance company, on the other hand, is primarily interested in settling the claim, and at the lowest possible cost. In pursuit of their objective, the insurance adjuster may try to omit certain operations that the shop deems necessary. Jack says with a copy of the regulations in hand, a shop can demand to be paid for all necessary operations. There may be some dispute over how much will be paid, but there can be no dispute over whether or not an operation is necessary.

Jack said the main concern here is the filing of complaints to force insurance companies to pay what is required. He said they're not likely to comply if no one complains. A report form was also provided at the meeting. This issue resulted in questions and discussions about the consequences of filing a complaint report. Shops with a direct repair relationship noted complaints could result in a loss of DRP status or some sort of retaliation. Independent shops would have no such concern. Jack noted that a lack of filed complaints when the time comes to discuss regulations could tilt the talk in favor of the insurance industry. They can now say if no one is complaining why should a regulation be imposed? Some members asked if filed complaints had resulted in shops being paid for disputed services. Jack noted that two shops had filed to be paid for storage time and since regulations require that payment, both shops were paid -- perhaps not as much as they preferred, but paid for the storage nonetheless.

It appears that complaints go beyond resolving a specific shop dispute. An abundance of complaints establishes an area ripe for regulation. Shops objected strongly to being held responsible for problems created by the use of aftermarket parts required by an insurance company. As a result, among the many recent changes to regulations, is the requirement that insurance companies that require the use of aftermarket parts be responsible for faulty parts rather than putting that responsibility on the shop that installed them to comply with the insurance company requirements.

Jack also discussed some changes to Board of Automotive Repair (BAR) regulations like windshield replacement standards and some successes on the legislative front. For example, BAR fines have been increased from $2500 to $5000, but for simple mistakes, it is now possible to receive non-technical training, like Write-it-Right or ethics training, instead of a fine. On the legislative front, the insurance industry tried to kill new collision repair regulations but the CAA helped kill that effort. Another battle has been the impact of a minimum wage increase on specialized technicians who provide their own tools. A small business like a collision repair shop would have to pay double the increased minimum wage, possibly rising to as much as $20.00 an hour. There is also an effort to head off the attempt to impose a sales tax on services that already exists in some states. This would obviously be a disaster for small businesses that provide mostly services.

In addition to the presentation by Jack Molodanof, Nicholas Cruz from HUB International also provided some information on upcoming health insurance changes as the Affordable Care Act rolls out. Basically the message is that it is constantly changing. The three major carriers in California are holding back on announcing increases in rates until the last minute. Cruz says HUB International is now available to CAA members to get answers to their many questions. The regional office for HUB International Insurance Services is at 4371 Latham St., Suite 101, Riverside, California 92501. Phone 951.788.8500.

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 19:22
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When body shop professionals in Northern California yell “Show me the Money!” they’re probably not quoting from Jerry Maguire, the 1996 film starring Tom Cruise. No, it’s more likely that they’re referencing Kurt Money, a body technician who is renowned for being an especially skilled instructor for the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). Virtually all repairers know I-CAR is a not-for-profit training organization focused on education, knowledge and solutions for the Collision Repair Inter-Industry and developing and delivering technical training programs to professionals in all areas of the Collision Repair Inter-Industry.

Money is celebrating 20 years as an I-CAR instructor this year, but he’s surely not resting on his laurels. As a full-time body man working at Larkfield Body and Paint in Santa Rosa, CA, and teaching a wide range of I-CAR courses, Money’s schedule is jam-packed. If he’s not mentoring body techs and fixing cars, he’s enjoying his Harley motorcycle. Money is all about teaching people, helping them and making a better industry; by volunteering his time when possible and showing that he cares.

Money, 56, came to northern California from Spanish Fork, UT—just outside of Provo—in 1979. After graduating from Utah Valley Technical College, Money decided to start his own shop and later hired two of his classmates to work for him. It was called Money’s Body & Paint and before long the shop was doing well. But Kurt was not ready to own and operate his own business at that point in his life. “The business was fine, but I was more into having a good time, playing a lot of golf, bowling and not paying attention to the shop. I was playing when I should have been working and pretty soon I ran it into the ground. It was a useful lesson and what I learned was, I don’t want to own my own shop!”

After working briefly for a Chevy dealership’s collision center in Provo, UT and supervising a crew of nine, Money decided to go west. “I loaded my tools in my van and headed to California,” Money said. “I was actually going to San Diego, but my voltage regulator failed and caused my vehicle to break down in Santa Rosa. I took it to a dealership and they told me that the van made it all the way from Utah on the charge that was left in the battery, which was very surprising.”

After working for a decade as a body tech at a Cadillac dealership in Santa Rosa, Money got a job at Larkfield Body and Paint in 1990, where he still works today. “It’s a third-generation shop and they treat all of us like family,” he explained. “Dave Hartman is the owner and he’s an exceptional individual. He’s the best boss I’ve ever had, because he cares about us and doesn’t treat us like employees.”

In 1985, Money started taking I-CAR classes, to learn as much as he could about his profession and improve his skills, he said. “When I first found out about I-CAR, some of the older guys told me that I didn’t need to take those classes. But, I found out that I-CAR was offering information I couldn’t find anywhere else. Back then, they had approximately 16 classes and I took them all. My instructor was a guy named Bob Puckett and he’s retired now. When I saw him in action, I thought to myself, I can do this.”

His I-CAR teaching career started over a gentleman’s bet, Money said. “I told one of my fellow techs that I was thinking of becoming an instructor for I-CAR. But he said, ‘You can’t talk in front of two people, how are you going to get up there and talk to a group?’ So, we made a bet and it actually provided me with additional motivation. I jumped in there and started teaching and I’ve been doing it now for 20 years.”

To see what he could do, I-CAR sent Money to Orange County to meet with Lead Instructor Ronnie Swaggert. “I admit, it was a little intimidating,” Money said. “I had to make a presentation in front of him and it wasn’t easy. I learned a lot from that and now I integrate it into my teaching. I use humor and I try to present the information in a way that the students can absorb easily. I’m hands-on and I like to teach visually. My approach is I teach the way I would want to be taught. I come up with scenarios that the techs can relate to and that way they get involved and retain the information.”

By using his proven techniques, a wide range of people within the collision industry have grown to know and respect Money for his uncanny ability to connect with his students. One of these is Dan Welsh, the owner of Crockett’s Premier Auto Body in Pinole, CA and a former I-CAR instructor who currently sits on the organization’s board. “All I can say is Kurt Money is a special individual,” Welsh said. “I keep waiting to run into his twin, because the man gets so much done there must be two of them. He’s very methodical and exceedingly fair and in everything he does, he puts other people first. He never takes credit and makes himself accessible to all his students, by giving them his cell phone number and even his home phone number.”

Peter Lock, the head instructor at Contra Costa College’s auto tech department has been working with Kurt Money since day one. Money periodically teaches Lock’s students welding classes and uses the Contra Costa College’s classroom to teach I-CAR classes on Saturdays, he said. “When I first met Kurt, I was expecting someone completely different. He pulled up on his Harley with the long hair and he had a Harley T-shirt on (he owns 86 HD T-shirts). I thought, what is going on with this guy? But after spending a day with him, I realized he’s pretty amazing. He’s a special person and he lives to teach. Kurt gives his time freely and has helped us in so many ways.”

Jim Boyle, the owner of Regal Collision in Vallejo, CA, also goes way back with Money and like everyone else, has nothing but good things to say about the man. “He is a unique individual and the one thing I can say is that his passion for teaching and helping people really stands out,” Boyle said. “When he gets up there in front of a class, you want to listen to him. I most appreciate his sense of humor and his attention for detail. He inspires people to be better, and that’s what teaching is all about.”

Gene Lopez, a regional manager for I-CAR is yet another Money fan, for several reasons. “Kurt is a tech, so he can deliver the information in a way that other techs can relate to,” Lopez said. “With 20 years of teaching experience at I-CAR, he is an integral part of the Santa Rosa market. He is a self-starter and works wells with other people, including Maria Reynaga, our chairman in that region. For him, it’s his life, not just a profession and that’s why we value him so greatly at I-CAR.”

Last modified on Thursday, 31 October 2013 21:50
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Charlotte-based Maaco has acquired 1-Day Paint & Body Centers of Torrance, Calif., for an undisclosed sum.

1-Day Paint & Body Centers is a 47-year-old company that operates 24 stores in California, Nevada and New Mexico. Most will be converted to Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting Centers during the next three to six months.

Maaco says the acquisition will triple its presence in Southern California, a top growth market for the company.

Sixteen 1-Day stores in Southern California are being franchised to existing Maaco owners Matt and Caroline Peach, making them the largest franchisee in the Maaco system. The remaining locations will be franchised to other owners.

Sherwin-Williams will be the supplier of choice for the 1-Day locations.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our new centers and the opportunity for growth in the region,” says Jose Costa, Maaco president.

Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting serves roughly 500,000 drivers annually. It has 450 franchises and is part of Driven Brands, also based in Charlotte. Driven Brands is also the parent of Meineke Car Care Centers, Econo Lube & Tune, AutoQual, Aero-Colours and Drive N Style.

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 16:47
Thursday, 24 October 2013 19:01

ASA-AZ Surveys 30 Dealerships Parts Depts on PartsTrader

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Over 130 people attended an Automotive Service Association of Arizona (ASA AZ) meeting on the evening of August 13th that featured Dale Sailer from Parts Trader and George Avery, national spokesperson from State Farm Insurance. Mike Anderson of Collision Advice facilitated the meeting in which questions were answered following presentations by Mr. Sailer and Mr Avery. Among those in attendance were two state legislators curious about the program and the impact on constituents.

The meeting coincided with the national rollout of Parts Trader in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Arizona was the first state in which Select Service shops were required to locate and purchase all parts using the relatively new and controversial program without benefit of the "fax only" option. Select Service shops are now only allowed to purchase parts from vendors that agreed to sign a Parts Trader Agreement.

As a follow up to this meeting, ASA AZ sent out surveys to new car dealerships parts departments. "The overwhelming majority of our collision repair members are opposed to the mandated use of parts procurement programs" stated Luz Rubio, Executive Director for ASA AZ. "We sent out the surveys to find out how Parts Trader was actually working for vendors and whether they felt it added value to their business."

Thirty OEM vendors replied to the survey with results that were overwhelmingly negative in regards to how parts departments felt the program was working for them. "The results of our survey do not seem to support Mr. Sailer's claims that Parts Trader has been well received by many of the vendors using it" said Ms. Rubio. One of the respondents commented on the overall program, "We have not seen a value in the program. We pride ourselves on relationships built with repairers throughout the years and find Parts Trader to be an unnecessary part of our business. There are a lot of unanswered questions as to who will pay for the Parts Trader program and how that will affect established relationships and pricing models."

ASA AZ released a position statement opposing Parts Trader on July 27, 2012. "Feedback from OEM parts vendors as well as repairers has given us no reason to change our position regarding the use of Parts Trader" commented Ms. Rubio. "Not one collision trade association has come out in support of the State Farm mandate and now, it is clear, that OEM parts departments are also opposed to its use. It is time for State Farm to consider an alternative instead of forcing repair shops and parts vendors to use a program that is both unpopular and ineffective."

Click HERE to see the survey including comments made by a large number of the respondents.
The ASA AZ continues to reinforce its position that insurance companies should stay in the business of insurance and leave all aspects of the collision repair process including parts ordering to the collision repair professionals.


Last modified on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 16:47
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During a meeting with the area State Farm Estimatics Manager, Ron Reichen, President of Precision Body and Paint in Beaverton Oregon, chose not to re-negotiate his company’s Select Service agreement with State Farm Insurance, the nation’s largest personal auto insurer—a relationship which lasted over 17 years and of which accounted for $2 million dollars in business over the past year.

“It was actually a business decision we had been considering for some time” stated Reichen. “Discussions came to an impasse over fair and reasonable rates and allowances for aluminum repair.  Our terminating the Select Service agreement stems from our company being a certified Tesla repair facility and the investments in time, equipment, training, specialized equipment and facilities which we could not offer for the rates State Farm was willing to pay. This will no doubt enable our company to re-evaluate and revise our pricing on other goods and services for the other manufacturers of which we are a certified repairer for including Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Volvo, GM, Chrysler and several others.”

Along with all other insurers, State Farm has paid Precision’s posted aluminum labor rates in the past. With Precision being the only certified Tesla repairer in the state, it is believed that with its growing popularity and its all aluminum construction, that State Farm has now elected to deny Precision’s aluminum rates under the Select Service Program.  As a result, like all other insurers, State Farm will no longer be provided the concessions (e.g. storage) Precision offered in the past.

Reichen stated: “While insurers continue to adjust their rates based upon economic pressures; as vehicle technology advances with new sophisticated metals, manufacturing and repair techniques, repairers, party to such programs as Select Service are precluded from keeping pace with their increasing costs. We found attempting to do so, while maintaining the highest level of quality and service, to be both unreasonable and unsustainable, and as a business decision we elected to resign from the insurer’s program.

“This was Precision’s last insurer Direct Repair relationship, and as in the past, we will continue to work with all insurers on our customer’s behalf. Precision is committed to its customers and our community and will continue to work diligently to serve them with the highest quality repairs and service in an expeditious manner regardless of which insurer is involved.”

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