Amended regulation enhances Consumer Safeguards
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced the final approval of amended regulations that simplify the requirements for determining whether a driver is principally at-fault (PAF) for an accident, which impacts consumers’ ability to obtain “Good Driver Discounts” under Proposition 103. The amended regulations prepared by the Commissioner today cleared the final administrative hurdle, having obtained approval from the Office of Administrative Law.
The amended regulation also allows an insurer to rebut presumptions concerning circumstances where a driver should be considered at-fault because the insurer may have evidence that the driver's acts or omissions caused the accident. The amended regulation also corrects problems with the PAF definition by including accidents involving bodily injury or death, restoring "total loss or damage" language, and raising the threshold for property damage, which has not been adjusted in nine years.
Richie’s Collision Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is extremely proud of their propensity for quality repairs and excellent customer service, but one fact that owner, Richard Lewis, does not boast about is his lack of a formal education. Despite the fact that Richie only attended school until second grade, he has established a business that anyone would be proud to own, whatever their level of education.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
After dropping out of school during second grade to begin work painting houses in order to help support his family, Richie spent his spare time building model cars, and this early automotive interest led to the purchase of a 1969 Camaro when he was fourteen years old. He and a friend restored the car, but though Richie had discovered his talent for auto body work, he was unable to use those skills in an occupational facility due to his lack of an education. A few years later, he restored a 1970 Trans Am and was offered a job in a local auto body shop after the shop’s owner was impressed with Richie’s remodeling job. For the next twelve years, Richie worked in several auto body shops.
According to Richie’s wife, Tracy Lewis, Richie “taught himself to read, write and work the estimating system. He grew up on the streets in the roughest of neighborhoods with everyone that he grew up with being in jail, dead, alcoholics or drug addicts. Where he grew up, someone was getting beat, shot or stabbed almost every day, but Richie wanted more for his life, so in his pursuit to prove himself, he wanted no one to notice that he didn’t have an education so he would do everything he could to work that much harder and try that much more to achieve the best outcome of the job he was doing so that people didn’t think he was uneducated.”
Car Crafters in Albuquerque, NM, was founded in 1982 by Jim Guthrie, who at the time had only his love of cars and time spent repairing them in his parents’ garage to go on.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
After almost 30 years in business Car Crafters is now a 50,000 square-foot shop the grosses an estimated $10 million per year. They not only offer full collision and mechanical repair, they also provide glass repair and replacement as well as some custom fabrication work.
When Guthrie was a teenage boy, his parents told him to “either focus on college and become the dentist you’ve always wanted to be or find a shop and move out of our garage.”
That prompted Jim to rent his first shop space and he open Car Crafters for business on January 2, 1982.
Through hard work and good relationships the business was able to double in two years and expand to the building next door. The business took off once again and with the addition of insurance work, and expanded twice in the following five years. At the end of a five-year lease, Car Crafters moved to a 20,000 square foot building on McLeod Rd in Albuquerque, NM, where the young company continued to grow for the next 18 years, learning from its mistakes daily.
Hot air welders have been around for a number of years and used mostly in bumper remanufacturing facilities. A hot air welder works by passing compressed air over a heating element and heating the air to around 345ºC (650ºF) to melt the base plastic and filler rod/ribbon together. This type of welder does not use a flat shoe or feeder tube-type tip. A V-groove is cut into the part, the rod is laid into the V-groove, and the two are melted together. Whenever using this type of welder, it is important to have airflow over the element at all times no matter if it is preheating, welding, or cooling.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
A nitrogen hot air welder uses compressed nitrogen gas to eliminate oxygen from the weld area. The nitrogen acts as a shielding gas and allows for a contaminant-free weld with less smoke, which creates a stronger weld (see Figure 1). This type of welder can also switch to compressed air so that when preheating, or cooling down the heating element, it does not waste the nitrogen.
A fusion weld is made when the welding rod and plastic melt and mix together. This type of weld can only be done on thermoplastics. Thermoplastics, such as polypropylene/thermo plastic polyolefin (PP/TPO), which is used to make most bumper covers today, work very well with this type of welder.
Back in October Autobody News interviewed Joseph Carioti III about his NJ shop, McBride Auto Body, which had suffered flood damage from Hurricane Irene. (See Autobody News November 2011 Edition) The business was able to recover from the flooding and is back on track, but there’s more to the story.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
In 2012 McBride Auto Body will be celebrating its 75th year in the automotive collision repair and refinishing industry. McBride has been owned by one family, the Cariotis, throughout its long history of industry ups and downs, the family’s ups and downs, and just plain life’s ups and downs. They have survived and persevered through it all, watching many body-shops come and go with great sadness. The owners have always fought for the rights of the auto repair shops and for the rights of the insured when it was apparent that the laws were unjust.
Joseph W. Carioti Sr. moved from Calabria, Italy in 1910 as a young boy with his family to come to America to start a new and better life.After arriving in America his family settled in Paterson, NJ, where he attended school but never got past the 8th grade due to the hard times and his family needing his wages to survive. He took on odd jobs in masonry work while the country was in its growth period of building dams and tunnels up north in Wanaque Township, NJ. Then, one day in 1937, for no reason that he could ever articulate, Carioti Sr. purchased his first gas station with a two car garage attached and began the legacy of McBride Auto Body.
McBride began with humble beginings but not shortly afterwards in the early 40’s it was clear to Carioti Sr. that a larger facility was needed so he purchased a larger building two doors down from McBride’s present location. To the new structure he added another 4,000 square-feet and opened up the second location with apartments above in which his family lived, and two additional rental units attached. Carioti Sr. always believed that common sense was a person’s best investment in life, according to Joe Carioti III.
I’ve missed you guys the last couple of months because I’ve been really slammed with great projects and getting ready for SEMA, but I’m back with a lot of great news and some great projects.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
I’ve been fascinated with a product from a company that I came across about six months ago called Solution Finish. They have a product called Brings Black BackTM that is in a class by itself. Just like I do with everything, I put it to the 6 month test. I’m so excited about this product that I’m putting my name to it (see ad). I’m not just endorsing this product, I’m part owner of the company and I’m glad to be a part of Solution Finish. This is going to go viral and be used to fix millions of cars from here on out.
If you’ve worked on cars for a while you’ve noticed that the black plastic or the black finish on your windshield wipers fade over time. This problem is due to the carbon in the plastic and carbon is what makes the color whether it’s black, brown, grey. There’s never really been a product that could really fix these problems. A lot of us just came to accept that there is nothing that can repair the problem. Eventually the sun and the wear and tear, the carbon is eventually going to fade. Now I know that there are silicones that you can wipe on to make the surface shiny and slimy, but it wipes off on your towel or rubs off on your clothes. It attracts dirt, and after one or two washes it comes off anyway. You can also slip if you get it on your running boards; it’s just a real temporary fix.
The debate continues to rage: What is the standard for collision repairs? Who develops the standard? Is it possible to deviate from the standard? If you can deviate, what entity can provide an alternate to the standard?
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
As such, people, committees, associations, not-for-profit organizations and corporations are lining up quicker than adults outside of Toys R Us on Black Friday to offer their two cents on the subject. Sadly, most of their opinions aren’t worth a single copper Lincoln penny.
Why not? Because most of those offering an opinion are basing their decision upon something other than being experts on the topic.
I’m not professing to be an expert or proficient enough in repair methodology to offer an opinion worthy of your consideration. While that may be the most humble thing you will ever read in one of my articles, I am going to give you my opinion anyway. The way I see it, if you are reading and listening to alleged industry experts weigh in, why not an insurance executive who has never actually repaired a vehicle? Maybe I’m the best person to offer an opinion because I don’t stand to gain anything.
Although I’ve never repaired a vehicle, don’t discredit the wisdom I’m about to impart upon you. Sometimes the best ideas come from the most unlikely of places. Do you think Moses knew what was going to happen at the top of the mountain? If you happen to be a good church-going boy or girl, you know that is where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Who could have guessed sectioning procedures were even an issue back then?
Back in July I wrote an article about Yelp—the well-known review website where customers can comment about businesses and rate their performance. My article was about body shops having a love-hate relationship with it. See www.autobodynews.com and search ‘yelp’ if you missed it. Like any business, shops appreciate postive reviews from customers and bristle at negative ones, but the issue we were addressing is what shops can do to mitigate negative reviews. Since then there have been some developments.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
Darnell Holloway is Manager for Local Business Outreach for Yelp, the on-line review site. Holloway recently spoke at a Santa Clara California Autobody Association meeting and Autobody News subsequently interviewed him about what he said in more depth.
ABN: If a shop receives a bad review, what options does it have to respond?
DH: Generally speaking, the business owners who have the most success with reputation management on Yelp are the ones who are dedicated to providing a great customer experience in the offline world. Beyond that, we provide a free suite of tools via www.biz.yelp.com that allows business owners to respond privately as well as publicly to reviews, upload information about themselves and add photos, among other things. Once a business starts receiving reviews, it’s important for business owners to join the conversation. We provide a whole host of information on Yelp for business owners, including how to respond to online critics. We also recently released a video featuring business owners as they share their thoughts on this subject. The most important takeaway for business owners is: 1) Remain calm. 2) Think about the complaint in relation to our existing customer service policy and then respond diplomatically.
This month I want to single out Stockton 12 Honda, in Sandy, Utah. Owned by former basketball star John Stockton, this dealership is located just a short drive south of Salt Lake City. Their web site is stockton12honda.com.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
Since 1998 this dealer has serviced its customers with pride, and a dedication to quality. Quality in all ways, which is best demonstrated by its parts department, led by “Peg” Ellenberger.
Peg started her automotive career in 1985, moving to Stockton 12 Honda in 2001. She brought a following of loyal customers with her, customers who knew she cared about them. This dedication to quality service has led to continuous growth, and her customers now supply over half of the parts department’s business.
Peg and I share the same opinion, dealers who cultivate long term relationships will always succeed. Those short sighted opportunists, who always rely on the next customer, will almost always fail. The past five years have shown the truth of this opinion. Dealers who were out for the “quick buck” have vanished from the scene, leaving only the best to continue in business.
Her secrets of success are simple: Don’t let your customer wait for a needed part; freight is not an issue; correct your mistakes immediately; value your customer’s business; and always put yourself into your customer’s shoes; always maintain a positive attitude, and don’t let the “problems” get you down; create long-term relationships; work smoothly together to repair cars as quickly as possible; work as friends, not strangers; and make someone else smile!
I recently noticed a shop that had several excellent repeat business sources lose one of them—a major dealership —to a competitor. When I inquired about how this could happen, I learned that the shop’s owner and manager were busy focusing their full attention on saving one of their insurance DRPs. During this time, they somewhat neglected that major dealership source. This gave the competitor an opening to jump in and grab that business. I’m sure that in retrospect, this shop owner realized he should have assigned someone—or hired someone —to maintain giving that dealership all of the attention they were accustomed to receiving.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
Is it possible to have too many irons in the fire? Is a shop better off just concentrating on a limited number of sources so each can be given abundant attention?
Let me illustrate with a metaphor. One of the exciting technologies of “the space age” is the development of lasers (L-ight A-mplified by S-timulated E-mission of R-adiation). A beam of light is concentrated to such a fine point it can cut through metal. Think about for the intensity of concentrated attention needed to hold onto a major referral source.
On the opposite end of the light concentration spectrum is the flashlight. It casts a broad beam that encompasses a wide area ahead of the light, but the intensity of the light is fairly weak. It’s just strong enough for the human eye to get a general view of the area ahead. Marketing concentration can fall across a similar spectrum: intense concentration vs. a wide, less effective, general approach.
I want to start this month’s column with a personal reflection on some life changing events that happened to me last year.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
The last Saturday of September I woke up about 1:00 a.m. with a pain in my chest. It felt like a 500 lb gorilla was standing on my chest and the pain was excruciating. Not being the brightest person in the world, I got into my truck and drove myself to the hospital. When I told the nurse in emergency that I was experiencing chest pain, she rushed into a room and hooked up an EKG monitor and blood pressure gauge. My blood pressure was 170 over 90. Not real good (I am on blood pressure medication). The ER doctor came in and told me that I did not have a heart attack or a stroke, but there was something not working right with my heart and set up an appointment with a cardiologist the following week. Five hours later, I came home, hooked up my welding trailer and conducted an I-CAR structural steel test (Again, not the best move, sometimes my brain works in reverse). Monday, I made an appointment with a cardiologist for the following Friday.
On that Wednesday, my daughter gave birth to an 8 lb baby girl named Hayley, and for my wife and me, our first grandchild.
I will tell you that being a grandparent is a tremendous experience. The best experience of all is that I haven’t had diaper duty yet.
On Friday, I had my appointment with the cardiologist. I had another EKG and he determined that I had a mild case of Atrial Fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-fib) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). It is a common cause of irregular heart beat, identified clinically by taking a pulse. Chaotic electrical activity in the two upper chambers (atria) of the heart result in the muscle fibrillating (i.e., quivering), instead of achieving coordinated contraction.
Years ago my younger brother came to work for me. He didn’t know a thing about cars, but was willing to learn all that he could. Teaching new technicians is an art that most shop owners have to learn to do, but teaching your little brother can be a chore and can test your patience.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
I muddled through it all and taught him what I could. I was sure at some point in time the two of us would butt heads like brothers will do, and he would take his new found skills and move up in the rank and files of the automotive technical world, but in the meantime it was his turn to learn from his older brother.
When he first started I would walk him through each step of how to diagnose a certain system in a car. A lot of times he would have questions, and I’d do my best to answer them. He learned quickly and was really sharp at picking up some of those little details that are harder to teach, because you tend to forget to mention them while you’re teaching—mainly because you are trying to get to the solution as efficiently as possible, and you neglect to bring it up. Such as: “always test your test light connection before testing what you’re testing, or don’t forget to check for all your tools before you pull the car out of the shop.” Things like that.
One day we had a truck come in with dual fuel tanks on it. The gas gauge wasn’t working and needed some attention. This was a perfect opportunity for Junior to learn a few of my short cuts on these old models. It was an older Ford, in which the tank gauge ran through the tank switchover button. It was rather easy to pull it out of the dash and connect to the gauge from the back of the switch.
Jim and Jack’s Collision Center, one of the largest single-location body shops in the nation, started out as a mechanical shop at a gas station.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
Founders Jim and Jack Kizirian opened the business in 1967 at the same location the business currently resides in. Taleen and Richie Kizirian, niece and nephew of the original owners, now run the business.
Since taking over the business in 2004, Taleen and Richie have been able to quadruple the business in size.
“It was my job to come in and modernize, computerize and put systems in place,” said Richie, who has a business degree in finance and accounting from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Taleen, who is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, handles the business’s accounting and administrative functions.
Jim and Jack’s is able to see 100s of cars per month in their 150,000 square-foot, 5-acre facility; they work with 17 frame machines and 5 spray booths on their shop floor. The Technicians at Jim and Jack’s are also certified in various different European, Asian and American brand auto repair techniques.
“You name it, we have it,” said Richie.
Valley Motor Center has proudly held another successful charity event. As part of giving something back to the communities the business serves, Valley Motor Center completely refurbished a 2006 Toyota Sienna minivan, and on November 21, 2011, donated it to New Horizons, a local organization dedicated to helping adults with developmental disabilities reach their potential and fulfill their dreams. Attending this year’s event were representatives of insurance companies, vendors, parts and paint suppliers, car rental companies and community leaders.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
On hand to help kick off Valley Motor Center’s charitable donation were Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, Detective Bill Bustos - Valley Division LAPD, and Jason Levin of Senator Fran Pavley’s office, who all spoke, as well as Marsh Gluchow, owner of Valley Motor Center, Sue Weitkamp, Board Member & Past President of New Horizons, and Matt Williams, Material Damage C.A.R.S. Manager of Mercury Insurance.
Valley Motor Center was honored to have Malissa Moreno sing, and Adam Sher and Lisa Bronet speak, all clients of New Horizons. Guests enjoyed food, photos, and of course the vehicle donation.
Valley Motor Center has always believed in giving back and getting involved in the communities they serve. The company feels that today, during this economic downturn which has affected everyone, they’re so fortunate to be able to do a little extra by fully refurbishing a vehicle previously owned by Mercury Insurance, and donating it to such a worthy organization.
“Our goal is to help as many people in our local community as possible by donating a vehicle to New Horizons, an organization that operates right here in the communities we serve.” states Marsh Gluchow, owner of Valley Motor Center. “It is truly our privilege to be a part of this wonderful cause.”
“We are excited about participating in Recycled Rides,” states Holly Rasey, VP for development & Marketing for New Horizons. “Valley Motor Center has a long history of helping those in need in their community, and we’re proud that they chose us to be a recipient of this vehicle. We’ll work diligently to make sure the van they are donating to us is put to its very best use, and allows us to help as many people as we can.”
Valley Motor Center has provided expert auto collision repair since 1944, and through all those years of experience, has earned the highest levels of integrity, quality repairs, customer care, reliability and safety.
Every one of the employees at Valley Motor Center has such a strong commitment to their customers that “You Will Be Satisfied” is engraved in stone in their Customer Care Center.
For more information please visit www.valleymotorcenter.com.
The California Autobody Association’s East Bay chapter hosted its 14th annual Toys for Tots Model Truck Customizing Competition on Nov. 15 at the beautiful Blackhawk Museum in Danville, Calif. Amongst some of the most coveted cars in the world, 250 people enjoyed the evening in the same room with a 1909 Winton Touring Model 17, a 1911 Mercedes Labourdette Skiff, a 1968 Bizzarrini 5300 S.I. Spyder, and a 1937 Figoni et Falaschi Delahaye, part of the museum’s 90-car collection.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
Michael Govette from FinishMaster in Concord, Calif. has been running this highly successful event since 1997 and this year was no exception, he said. “We had a really fine show and we gathered over 300 toys for the Marines Toys for Tots program and raised $3,500.00 from truck bids, for the food banks of Contra Costa and Alameda. We had all the alumni trucks in the lobby, not under glass, so everyone could get a good look at them.”
Ten Bay Area body shops and auto repair school programs entered the competition with high hopes for trophies and accolades. Each was given an identical Nylint die-cast truck that they could modify and customize for the contest. Silent-auction bids were taken on every vehicle and at times the bidding was back and forth between primarily competing shops.
There were some amazing trucks, but only one can walk away with the coveted title and this year’s first place went to Crocketts Premier Auto Body of Pinole, Calif. Shop Owner Dan Welsh left the work to his highly creative crew and they delivered in a big way. By thinking outside the box, the artisans at Crocketts created a Bugatti with its trailer, modeled after an actual vehicle on display at the museum. In addition, Crockett won the People’s Choice award for receiving the most votes from the people in attendance.
“Once again, the collision repair shops that care about their craft step up in a big way at Christmas time,” Govette explained. “Besides raising money for the food banks and Toys for Tots, we presented $3,400 to the local R.O.Ps and local colleges at a time that they clearly need it most. Building these toy trucks is a great team-building project for the body shops. It’s a win-win, because we help the community and the collision industry supports the effort enthusiastically every year.”
Second place in the competition went to T.G.I.F. Body Shop of Fremont, Calif. Shop owner Kathy Mello deferred to her skilled technicians to make a “Cars”-themed truck based on the popular Pixar animated features. The design was fun and funky and incorporated a working lamp into the trailer.
Third place was awarded to Mission Valley R.O.P. of Fremont, Calif. With Instructor John Cimino advising his collision students, they did all of the work while they created a stunning Christmas-themed truck. Mission Valley R.O.P. also won the Best of Class award, given to the top student-constructed model truck.
Sponsors for the evening included PPG Industries, LKQ, Audatex, Hertz, National Auto Parts, Lehmer’s of Concord, Dublin Chevrolet, Sherwin-Williams and Owen-Dunn Insurance. Special thanks to Melody Walker who has created remarkably artistic posters for the Toys for Tots Model Truck Customizing Competition for the past two years.
The organization also gave several educational institutions money for their auto repair programs. Eden Valley R.O.P. received $500, Mission Valley R.O.P. also got $500 and both Contra Costa College, and the College of Alameda all received $1,200 each from the CAA East Bay chapter.
“It’s great when organizations like CAA reach out and help schools like ours,” said Peter Locke, department chair of the automotive programs at Contra Costa College. “We need these types of donations to keep our programs thriving.”
So much happens in the collision repair industry that it can be hard to keep up on everything. A few big stories get plenty of attention, but sometimes it’s the lesser-known stories that can have as big an impact on your business.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
As a new year kicks off, here’s a wrap up of some of the news stories from this past year that might have flown under your radar amid the day-to-day challenges of running your shop, but that could prove helpful for you to know about.
► 1 The Federal Trade Commission last year issued a consumer bulletin related to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. It states that use of non-OEM parts in itself cannot void a vehicle warranty.
“Still, if it turns out that the aftermarket part was itself defective or wasn’t installed correctly, and it causes damage to another part that is covered under the warranty, the manufacturer or dealer has the right to deny coverage for that part and charge you for any repairs,” the bulletin states. For a copy of the bulletin, visit: http://tinyurl.com/3zvas3w
A six-year long fraud case filed against Bedford Hills, NY’s North State Custom by Progressive Insurance seems to be coming to an end at last. Attorneys for Progressive in September notified the court and counsel for the shop that the company did not intend to proceed with an appeal.
“We don’t know exactly why they decided not to appeal, but I’m certainly happy they did,” said North State owner Greg Coccaro.
In 2005, the customer, a handicapped professor from Columbia University, asked Coccaro to repair her 6-month-old 2004 Mercedes E320 that she had rolled down an embankment and crashed into a pile of rocks. Progressive Insurance wrote an on-site initial estimate of $7,142. Once the car was taken to Coccaro’s shop—which was not a Progressive DRP (Coccaro has no DRPs)—he found far more damage in addition to mistakes on the original estimate. According to Coccaro, Progressive eventually wrote another estimate for $26,804, then a third one for $18,000 after a desk review reduced that second estimate, and then another. All told there were some 10 estimates done. Coccaro’s final carefully-documented invoice for the full repair came in at $34,091.
Progressive then tried to recall the car from Coccaro after repairs had commenced and steer it to one of their select shops but was unsuccessful in convincing the customer. When the second estimate came in at $26,804, the customer confirmed she wanted North State to do the job, she agreed to pay any expenses beyond the $26,804. Progressive finally agreed to pay Coccaro’s invoice after the customer’s son, who had a relationship of sorts with the insurer, became involved.
Once in smithereens, now ready for business, the old auto body shop at 703 Yates St. is rehabilitated and owner, Robert Savoca, is excited to see an auto body shop return to the Pine Hills neighborhood of Albany, NY.
The process to change the auto body shop back to a safe and functional establishment wasn’t quick, or easy. Since Savoca is also the owner of Central Crossings; a construction company on 5 Lombard St. in Schenectady, his arsenal is well-equipped to take on all kinds of structural challenges.
When he bought the garage from Mella Weaver for $55,000, he said it was a disaster. “The building was a complete mess. No heat, no running water, leaky roof, broken windows, uninhabitable that’s for sure,” Savoca said.
The property also had electrical issues, no exterior or interior lighting, perforated floors and walls, bad plumbing and the basement floor had to be resurfaced. According to Savoca, all of these structural abnormalities cost him an additional $50,000 to repair, and took about 90 days for his crew of carpenters, roofers, plumbers and electricians to finish all of the projects.
Savoca, who owns Fort Orange Motor Car at 551 Central Ave. in Albany, has experience in the auto repair business and was familiar with the old Yates Street garage.
He said that the Pine Hills is a great location for a new auto body shop because there is only one other body shop in the neighborhood limits —D & S Body Shop on 465 Jay St. Also, because an auto repair business has thrived there for so many years, whoever plans to reopen one is almost guaranteed business, he said. Savoca also mentioned that a shop in that location would directly benefit residents and students who might need to have their cars serviced.
“I drive an old 1996 Saturn that breaks down all of the time,” said Kayleigh Buboltz, a neighborhood college student. “If there was a shop closer to me, I could have saved a lot of money on towing costs.”
After the rehabilitation was complete, Savoca hired Brandon Bellamy, a licensed salesperson at IKON Realty Group, LLC to help lease the property. According to Bellamy the property has been available to lease since October 18. Ikon plans to lease the property for $1,550 a month. The garage includes a basement and first floor equaling out to about 1,368 square feet. Other features include an overhead garage door, 1 1/2 bathroom, and one office on each floor. The property also comes with a private parking lot that holds up to 10 vehicles.
Bellamy has encountered multiple customers interested in renting the property. Unfortunately these potential tenants all possessed ulterior motives to turn the building into something outside of the auto repair business.
According to Savoca, customers wanted to convert the garage into a hamburger hotdog stand, a fish fry and a hair salon. He declined their offers.
Since the day Savoca bought the debilitated property, he envisioned a new and improved auto body shop and has no desire to lease to customers who suggest otherwise.
“I don’t think I found the right person to sell it to, so I’ll just wait until they come along,” said Savoca.
As people make their way down 27th Ave in Astoria, a neighborhood in Queens, NY, that borders the East River just east of the isle of Manhattan, they may stumble upon a rather large tree. At first there seems to be nothing special about this random tree, but upon closer inspection visitors may notice that the tree grows directly through an auto body repair shop.
Visitors can step into the office of Cove Recovery and Towing to find out for themselves.
The very old tree grows right through the counter and up through roof. Owner Tommy Cali, 59, built the office around the tree when he opened the business 25 years ago, and that it’s continued to grow without problems ever since.
“My wife’s family, they used to own the house here,” Cali told CBS 2, “It was sentimental. She didn’t want it cut down, that’s why it’s still standing.”
It took Cali about eight months to build the office. He did the construction himself with materials he found.
“It wasn’t too hard,” Cali said. “I just got all the scraps together that I found, put them in one spot and one day I just started to build it.”
A live tree growing through a inanimate object requires quite a bit of maintenance to be sure the building does not obstruct the tree’s growth, and the tree does not ruin the building.
“I cut the sheet rock out as it grows wider and on the top we have rubber mounted around it so as it grows the rubber stretches,” Cali said.
Despite the up keep, Cali said he has no intentions of cutting the tree. He’ll just let nature take its course.
Former Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) Executive Director Cindy Tursi passed away December 13. Tursi, who served the association from the 1988 through 2003, was 61.
Born in Wheeling, West Virginia and a former resident of Hillsborough, NJ, Cynthia resided in Branchburg, NJ, for 24 years. She retired in 2008 and had been self-employed for twenty years as AASP/NJ Association Manager.
“There aren’t enough words to describe what she did for the industry and for the association—it would take more of a book than a paragraph,” said AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell. “Through determination, attention to detail and her commitment to wanting us all to be successful, she continually went over and above what was required of her.”
AASP/NJ members and leaders also paid their respects to Cindy Tursi. “When I took over as Executive Director, Cindy was my mentor. I remember writing an article that it was a big job to fill those little shoes. Well, Cindy showed me the way,” said Charles Bryant, current Executive Director for the AASP/NJ.
“She looked after us like we were her children. She called us, she worried about us… she was a good lady.”
Guy Citro, who served two terms and hired Cindy to become AASP/NJ President added, “She was a professional and put her heart and soul into her work. Cindy kept the association going. She was not only my executive director, but also a good friend. Cindy helped many ASA/NJ presidents along the way before she retired. I will sadly miss her and her friendship.”
In the over 50 year history of AASP/NJ, there have only been three Executive Directors.
Cindy followed association founder George Threlfall and was succeeded by current AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant.
“For a tiny gal, she was a powerhouse,” said Bryant, “Cindy was an organizer and seemed to have a form for everything. During her time as Executive Director for the AASP Garden State and before that with what we all referred to as the North Chapter, Cindy saw herself as the mother hen. She seemed to feel that part of her job was to look over they guys and make sure they played nice. When one got out of line, you would see the lion in her. When they did something nice or compassionate, you would see the cuddly kitten and if you actually pissed her off, my best advice would be to get out of Dodge.”
Cindy Tursi is survived by her husband of 32 years, Noel A. Tursi; her son, Dustin Tursi; her granddaughter, Summer Ann Tursi; her father, Henry Novacek; her brother, Terry (Florence) Lunger; her niece, Tera Lunger; and her nephew, Hutch Novacek.
At the request of the family, funeral arrangements are being privately held and under the direction of Branchburg Funeral Home, 910 US Highway 202 South, Branchburg, NJ 08876, (908) 526-7638.
For more information please visit www.BranchburgFuneral Home.com.
From standards to stand-offs, economic hardship to successful expansion, the collision industry has certainly seen its fair share of issues this year. As everyone involved in this industry stares down the promises and hope a new year can bring, we asked some to look back and take a hard look at some of the issues they saw in 2011, and some they’d like to see less of in 2012.
Audra Fordin, owner of Great Bear Auto in Flushing, NY, is well-known for her informational activities throughout the industry and beyond. She is also the first female owner of Great Bear, which has been in her family for over 80 years. She spoke with Autobody News about some of the issues she felt were plaguing the industry.
“The industry as a whole needs better relationships with their customers, especially women,” said Fordin. Seeking to empower women and put control back in the drivers’ hands, Audra teaches a free monthly workshop: “What Women Auto Know.” Using an analogy to compare parts of the car to parts of the human body, her comprehensive course teaches women about maintenance, safety, tires, brakes, emergencies, power steering, bulbs, coolant, fluids, and wipers, as well as anything her audience may have questions about.
Students also learn some easy do-it-yourself car repairs to enable them to save money. The course has recently expanded to include an iPhone app, available through iTunes, as well as clothing and a DVD which are available at www.womenautoknow.com.
G&C AutoBody, with 7 locations in northern California, is spending $2.09 million installing photovoltaic power arrays on three of its seven locations to write off the whole project cost in one year under a special 2011 tax incentive for capital investments, according to reports made by the North Bay Business Journal.
The multiple-shop operation, which is Northern California’s largest collision repair chain north of the Golden Gate Bridge, intends to have installed a $1.3 million system on its Santa Rosa main offices and shop and a $450,000 array on its Petaluma store by the beginning of 2012. This past summer a $340,000 system was installed on a year-old location in Windsor, CA. (See Autobody News March 2011 Edition).
With several federal and state incentives on renewable-energy projects, the 100 percent bonus depreciation federal deduction for “qualified property” projects in 2011 and the potential to offset electricity costs, the three solar projects were a bargain, according to Gene Crozat, president and founder. He’s planning for energy costs to rise significantly in coming years as greenhouse-gas emissions-control measures kick in.
“If you’re a business that uses any electricity, you’re crazy if you don’t take advantage of this,” he told the North Bay Business Journal.
The federal business energy investment tax credit applies to 30 percent of the cost of solar projects completed in the next few years. The state offers a 10 percent performance incentive payable over 60 months.
For U.S. automakers and suppliers, the past year can best be described as 12 months of mixed results, leaving unanswered questions about the future direction of the industry and what is required for manufacturers and suppliers to thrive.
In 2011, U.S. light car and truck sales will exceed 12.5 million, a nice bump from 11.6 million in 2010 and 10.4 million in 2009. And though the most optimistic analysts forecast that U.S. vehicle sales will rise to more than 14 million in 2012, that’s a far cry from 17.3 million at the turn of the millennium. Last year’s U.S. sales figures might have been higher if not for the tsunami and earthquake in Japan and flooding in Thailand, which forced Toyota, Honda, and, to a lesser extent, Nissan to curtail production in virtually all of their assembly plants around the world. Auto sales growth is far more rapid in emerging nations such as China and India, with average annual sales gains since 2001 of 23 percent and 15 percent respectively.
All of this should be good news for U.S. automakers, which have restructured their operations to be profitable at lower volumes in the U.S. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler gained market share at the expense of the Japanese manufacturers, and the Detroit Three have now posted several quarters of consistently strong operating performance. Whether these improved earnings are short-lived will depend on a number of unknowns:
Christmas arrived a little early for the 11th straight year when five deserving families in Contra Costa County received refurbished vehicles from Mike’s Auto Body in Antioch, CA. The presentation ceremony on December 14 was attended by more than 200 people representing body shops, insurance companies and community leaders.
Over the past decade, Mike’s Auto Body has presented a total of 30 cars to families in need and non-profit organizations through its very own Benevolence Program. Sal Contreras is the marketing director at Mike’s Auto Body and has been the main force behind the program since day one.
“It has been so rewarding over the last ten years presenting the cars to deserving individuals and organizations who are working to improve their skills and become independent,” Contreras said. “Everything is donated—the cars, parts, paint, mechanical inspections, tires and six months of insurance. The body and paint technicians donate their time and talents. AAA of Northern California, Mercury Insurance Group, Safeco, GEICO and Farmers Insurance are participating this year by donating a ‘written off’ vehicle to this effort.”
Mike Rose said he is proud to be a part of the program. “We are in an industry that has the means to get these vehicles road ready,” Rose said. “It’s just a matter of getting all of our vendors on the same page. For the sake of the other applicants that are still in need of reliable transportation, we only hope that more shops can create a similar program of their own to give back to the community.”
Each year, Mike’s Auto Body comes across cars that are “written off” by either the owner or the insurance company. Often times these are older vehicles that just need some mechanical and body work to get them back on the road and perfectly safe to drive. “Because we believe these cars are going to waste when there are people who really need them, we decided to do something about it”, Contreras explained.
From standards to stand-offs, economic hardship to expansion, the collision industry has certainly seen its fair share of issues this year. As everyone involved in this industry stares down the promises and hope a new year can bring, we asked some to look back and take a hard look at some of the issues they saw in 2011, and some they’d like to see less of in 2012.
Rodney Pierini, President & CEO of the CA/NV/AZ Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA), spoke briefly with Autobody News about his take on this year’s industry issues.
“The big issues as we (CAWA) see them are ongoing and are probably the same nationally. For us, the use of aftermarket parts is under siege by the car companies who are trying to protect their market share by making unfounded claims regarding aftermarket parts quality,” said Pierini, “The CA Department of Insurance is contemplating regulations on the use of aftermarket parts in insurance repair work. A preliminary meeting has been held and we are awaiting further developments. We will defend aftermarket parts and their quality and affordability that keeps insurance premiums and repair costs from totaling the majority of vehicles.”
Pierini also predicted that the CA state Legislature would also see a parts certification bill in its coming session.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced updated 2010 fatality and injury data showing that highway deaths fell to 32,885 for the year, the lowest level since 1949 on December 8. The record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities occurred even as American drivers traveled nearly 46 billion more miles during the year, an increase of 1.6 percent over the 2009 level.
“While we have more work to do to continue to protect American motorists, these numbers show we’re making historic progress when it comes to improving safety on our nation’s roadways,” said Secretary LaHood. “Thanks to the tireless work of our safety agencies and partner organizations over the past few decades, to save lives and reduce injuries, we’re saving lives, reducing injuries, and building the foundation for what we hope will be even greater success in the future.”
The updated information released by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today indicates 2010 also saw the lowest fatality rate ever recorded, with 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2010, down from 1.15 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2009. Other key statistics include:
● Fatalities declined in most categories in 2010, including for occupants of passenger cars and light trucks (including SUVs, minivans and pickups).
● Deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers dropped 4.9 percent in 2010, taking 10,228 lives compared to 10,759 in 2009.
● Fatalities rose among pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and large truck occupants.
In light of the excellent working relationship between ASRW and Autobody News, we wanted to comment on the ongoing ‘Insurance Insider’ column. We understand these are op-ed pieces and are written from the author’s point of view. However, the two articles we’ve seen—Can NACE Survive as a ‘Traveling Regional Trade Show? and Industry Undecided Which Organization Will Prevail in NACE vs. SEMA” each contain several inaccuracies.
Our attempts to contact the ‘insider’ regarding these statements received standard automated replies. We wanted to bring the following inaccurate statements to your readers’ attention:
‘Can NACE Survive as a ‘Traveling Regional Trade Show’? October 20, 2011 (online); November 2011 (print)
● Article states: “Aside from the fact there weren’t a lot of people there, which made it easier to navigate the show floor, the smaller event meant my feet were intact after a few days of walking.” – Although the size of NACE has contracted in proportion to the size of the collision industry since the late-1990s, ASRW 2011 had an increase in attendance of 18%.
● Article states: “They assembled a committee of industry experts that were supposed to help guide them to “NACE: The Next Generation.”—Although the ‘NACE: The Next Generation’ committee does not exist, we do solicit feedback from industry experts, attendees, exhibitors and prospective participants when making decisions that affect the future of ASRW.
● The article references a vote at the CIC meeting in early 2010 as the catalyst as to where the fall CIC meeting would take place.—Although votes occurred at this meeting, the relevant vote took place at the CIC Planning Meeting in January of 2011 and the results (holding the meeting in conjunction with NACE or SEMA) were separated by 1 vote.
‘Industry Undecided Which Organization Will Prevail in NACE vs. SEMA’ – November 23, 2011 (online); December 2011 (print)
• Article states: “[NACE] staked their claim as the undisputed ‘Collision Industry Trade Show Champion’ after 2011.—While we have never made this particular claim, NACE remains the only event dedicated to the professionals within the collision repair industry.
● Article states “SEMA is an upstart show.”—SEMA is not an upstart show. According to www.semashow.com, it is “the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world,” and has been in existence since 1966.
● Article states: “NACE lost the sale, and Round 1 of the ‘Battle of the Century’ last year went to SEMA.” According to www.semashow.com, SEMA’s audience consists of approximately 60,000 automotive enthusiasts in the automotive, truck and SUV, powersports and RV markets. Unlike SEMA, NACE’s audience has been and remains the professional collision repairer.
We consider Autobody News to be a great partner/supporter, and we appreciate the on-going coverage and support we consistently receive. We welcome the opportunity and are always available to provide the anyone – including the ‘insider’ with factual information regarding ASRW.
ASRW Show Management
Hanley Wood Exhibitions
The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association held their November monthly meeting at the Country Tavern Barbecue in Shreveport, LA on November 1 at 6:30 p.m.
The meeting’s guest speakers were Sgt. Juan Arias with the United States Marine Corps and Bill Easterling with Environmental Risk Management and Safety. Bill Burnside, Secretary Treasurer for the NWLCRA, introduced Sgt. Juan Arias, the Toys for Tots Coordinator for the United States Marine Corps.
Arias thanked the NWLCRA for helping with the Toys for Tots drive this year. The Marines have been involved with the Toys for Tots for over 60 years. They pick up toys from organizations and businesses all over the United States and deliver them to the Salvation Army. The toys are then delivered to children all over the United States to ensure children can have a happy Christmas. This is a Marine Reserve function, but Active Marines can participate. The goal is to collect as many new, unwrapped toys for girls and boys as possible. December 18 was the last day for individuals, organizations, and businesses to deliver the toys to the Marines. Starting November 1, Marines set up at local Wal-Mart’s to collect toys. Last year they collected over 4,000 toys.
This is a very important cause and the NWLCRA helped this year by having everyone attending their Christmas Party bring an unwrapped, new toy for a boy or girl. A Marine was also at the party to collect these gifts.
The meeting’s next guest speaker was Bill Easterling with Environmental Risk Management and Safety. He talked about the changes on the regulation of personal protective equipment (PPE). He said that employers are responsible for providing PPE for all employees. The employer is NOT responsible for providing items that would be considered normal wear, i.e., boots, prescription classes, etc.
A business can now be cited for each instance of a violation, not just a single violation. If you have 4 employees that are not wearing safety glasses in an area where safety glasses are required, the business will be cited for ALL 4 instances, not just 1 citation for safety glasses.
He also stated that a decision has been made that states penalties have been too low in the past to be a proper deterrent, so now a business will have more citations with higher fines when that business has violations.
He provided a hand-out from attorney Mark Lies, with Seyfarth Shaw Attorneys, that outlines this OSHA change. Mr. Easterling discussed the proper disposal of waterborne paint related waste and the standard operating procedure. He outlined how a business should determine if the waste is hazardous or non-hazardous. Waterborne paint waste CANNOT be disposed of in the city sewer OR discharged to the environment. It must be picked up by a waste hauler for disposal.
Next, he discussed the paint booth filter testing. He said that used paint booth filters must be handled as hazardous waste unless they have been tested and found to be non-hazardous. He said that usually it is cheaper to have the filters tested instead of handling them as hazardous waste. Documentation of the tests results MUST be kept on file for verification. He had multiple hand-outs for everything he discussed and a copy of these hand-outs can be found by visiting the NWLCRA website.
The NWLCRA will hold their next meeting on January 3, 2012 and will be a night meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Country Tavern Barbecue.
For more information please visit www.nwlcra.org.
The Houston Autobody Association (HABA) hosted a fundraiser and reception held for Texas Senator Mike Jackson (R-La Porte) on November 30 at 6 p.m. at the Cadillac Bar and Grille in Houston, TX.
All automotive industry businesses were invited to attend and support Jackson’s campaign for election to Congress next year. Jackson has represented constituents in the Senate District 11, which includes portions of Brazoria, Harris and Galveston Counties, since 1999 and served in the Texas House for ten years before that.
Jackson, who has introduced several automotive industry bills in the past, announced his bid for the Republican nomination in the newly created 36th Congressional District seat back in August.
“Mike Jackson has always been a strong advocate for the collision industry and small business; he understands that there needs to be checks and balances between the Collision Industry and the Insurance Industry,” said James Brown, President of the HABA, “We endorse him as a candidate for the US Congress seat he is running for. In speaking with Senator Jackson last night, he assured me his priorites were going to be the same as they were in Austin, but hopefully on a national level in the next election.”
As a limited government conservative in the Texas State Legislature, Jackson has received numerous awards for his leadership, including: 2011 Champion of Small Business from the National Coalition for Capital (NCFC); 2011 Taxpayer Advocate Award from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility; 2010 Citizen of the Year Award from the Southbelt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce; 2009 ABC Free Enterprise Champion from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas; and 2009 Champion of Free Enterprise from the Texas Association of Business.
Jackson is a member of the Texas State Rifle Association, multiple area Chambers of Commerce, and is a licensed pilot. His hobbies include hunting, fishing and riding his Harley.
Please visit: www.mikejacksonforcongress.com for more information.
From standards to stand-offs, economic hardship to successful expansions, the Southwest collision industry has seen its fair share of challenges this year. We asked some repairers and other industry stakeholders to take a hard look at some of the issues they saw in 2011, and some they’d like to see less of in 2012.
Gary Wano, Jr., owner of GW&SON AutoBody, Inc. in Oklahoma City, OK, talked with Autobody News about his views on the collision industry over the past year and where we may be headed in 2012.
One key issue this year was a very uncertain economy, which affected many consumers’ decision to repair their vehicles.
“As for GW&SON, 2010 we performed 444 repairs at a repair average of $1201, this year, with no labor rate increases our ‘light repair’ average has raised to $1588, and we have only close 105 to date. I will admit this is a ‘at surface stat’ without digging any deeper it would appear our small ticket ‘customer pay’ repairs have dropped off by 73%, while the ‘customer pay’ severity has increased by 32.2%. Again, off the cuff I would say our client base is more willing to drive around with a few dents and dings, or $1201 worth of damage, but there is a level, or $1588, in damage that must be hitting out clients’ ‘got to repair’ threshold,” said Wano.
Another big change Wano saw this year was vehicle salvage value and the instances of a vehicle being labeled a total loss.
John Borek, General Manager of Autocraft Bodywerks in Austin, Texas, has filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance against American National Property and Casualty Company (ANPAC) and a claims services company, American Claims Services, alleging that they “knowingly used a fraudulent document to justify their short-pay” of a claim.
Borek said his shop submitted supplements on the claim to ANPAC through American Claims Service, which denied payment for color sand and buff, sending the shop a document it said was from Audatex showing that procedure as included in 2-stage refinish formula.
Borek said he filed an inquiry with the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG), and Audatex, after searching the shop’s “Database Reference Manuals” back to 1993. Borek said he had never seen the supposed Audatex document before being presented with it from ANPAC. The DEG stated that the document is “most certainly not from ADP/Audatex.” (The actual Audatex manual shows color sand and buff as a not-included item.)
“Color sand and buff has been a pet-peeve of mine since 1998, and I know it’s not included in any paint time,” Borek said. “But how many shops are being sent incorrect information about things like this and not knowing any better?”
The Texas Department of Insurance is now investigating ANPAC for using a supposedly fraudulent document. According to Borek, ANPAC has said they will pay the supplement now, but he has not seen any payment since reporting the findings to the DEG.
In filing his complaint with the Texas DOI Property and Casualty Complaint Department, Borek wrote: “We believe that based on this document, ANPAC/American Claim Service is knowingly using a fraudulent document to justify their short pay to limit the price paid for repairs to [the] automobile. By not performing these necessary operations, it will result in an incomplete repair. I have spoken today with the field appraiser assigned to this file and he confirmed that he put the needed repair operations on the original estimate (see Exhibit G-3) although a document generated from ANPAC/American Claim Service shows a zero by all these operations.
“As resolution to this complaint, please take the necessary enforcement action against ANPAC/American Claim Service for what are appears to be deceptive trade practices.
“I have attached the following exhibits and contact numbers for your review:
“Exhibit A: Request to the database enhancement gateway to verify validity of document ANPAC/American Claim Service provided.
“Exhibit B: Document from ANPAC/American Claim Service stating they are denying payment for needed operations due to document they claim came from Audatex.
“Exhibit C: Document ANPAC /American Claim Service provided that misrepresents material facts.
“Exhibit D: Email from Audatex Manager, Robert Sandkaut, stating Exhibit C is not from Audatex.
“Exhibit E: Correct database reference manual from Audatex.
“Exhibit F: Email from the database enhancement gateway stating that Audatex will be contacting American Claims Service and sending them a current copy of the database reference manual.
“Exhibit G-1 through G-6: Last supplement from ANPAC/American Claims Service.
“Exhibit G-3: Supplements, 4 from ANPAC/American Claims Service listing the needed operations as zero on their estimate and that they are included in two stage refinish which is a material misrepresentation.”
You can view the full text of these documents by clicking HERE.
Borek says he has spoken to the claim representative, the field appraiser, and the Texas Field Supervisor for ANPAC about this incident. “I have attempted to contact American Claim Service who will not take or return my phone calls.”
“It’s just amazing that these insurance companies will do this,” said Borek.
The city of Houston is moving to enact an ordinance to regulate the automotive repair and service industry that would regulate 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 mayor has set the vote for Wednesday, Dec. 21, the last City Council meeting of the year, and after this issue goes to press.
“While this ordinance has good intentions, it paints the entire industry with one stroke. The proposed ordinance stems from an effort to eliminate a problem that comes from a small percentage of unscrupulous collision-repair shops, which is one segment of the automotive repair trade. This attempt at a solution will wrap an already difficult business in more red tape,” says Kathryn van der Pol, Past President of ASA, Houston Chapter, and co-owner of Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage, which has been in business since 1946.
Writing in the Houston Chronicle, Van der Pol says there are some good features for the consumer in this ordinance:
“The ordinance will require all auto-repair facilities to post their license number on their advertising and invoices so that the consumer will know which companies are city-licensed repair facilities.
“It will also require auto-repair facilities to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Currently, there is no local or state law that requires a repair shop to have insurance. In an uninsured shop, car owners are liable for anything the garage owner does with their car. Good shops already purchase insurance, but virtually all shops that lack integrity will also lack insurance.
Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes A-Plus™ Network recently held its annual Vision Group Conference at the Naples Grand Beach Resort in Naples, FL. The conference provided the more than 80 leading collision shop owners and managers with world-class training, top industry speakers and group breakout sessions, all with a focus on succeeding—and growing—in a difficult economic climate.
The A-Plus Network is made up of an exclusive group of collision repair specialists who reflect the industry’s highest standards. They are part of the Sherwin-Williams leading value-added program that combines comprehensive business solutions to help them improve customer service, employee growth, insurance relationships, process refinement, productivity and profitability.
The conference agenda featured many outstanding industry leaders and speakers from the collision repair and business arena, including:
● Bob Lane, Managing Partner of Robert Lane and Associates, a leading business advisory headquartered in Toronto, delivered the keynote on ‘How to compete and win in today’s business world’. Bob educated the group about undergoing a journey of change, business intellect, competitive advantage, and understanding of what is going on in the world around you. Bob shared his wealth of experiences and knowledge with all attendees to help them know what they need to have in business today to not only succeed, but to win.
● Darren Fristoe, President, The Fristoe Group, and Dan Bailey, former President, CarStar Collision Centers, discussed the hot topic of ‘Succession Planning,’ an in-depth look into the long term reality of each attendee’s company—and how to prepare their business for future generations and/or how to make it more attractive to potential purchasers
● Steve Feltovich, Manager of Business Consulting Services, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, presented ‘Beyond Lean;’ a deep dive into shop analytics, succession planning and the next key steps for collision industry facilities to adopt as they go further along their lean journey
● Matt Ohrnstein, Principal at Matt Ohrnstein Advisors, a top automotive industry consultant, took the group through the state of the industry—today and tomorrow—and what to expect when collision repair center owners open their third, fourth or even tenth location
After keynote and featured speakers, a number of breakout sessions were held in tandem with peer-to-peer discussion groups throughout the three-day event. The discussion groups gave attendees the chance to review financial performance, discuss lean implementation, build marketing plans and define their goals.
“Our annual conference continues to support and educate our Vision Group members, giving them the competitive edge to succeed in this challenging environment,” said Troy Neuerburg, Manager of Marketing Business Services at Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. “The conference is just one of several meetings our Vision Group Members attend and all are designed to keep their businesses at the industry forefront.”
Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes began the A-Plus Network Vision Group Program in 2000 and now has two independent owners groups, one manager’s group, two dealership collision center groups and one Canadian collision facility leadership group. These groups consist of both single and multiple shop owners and managers. Square One Systems, Inc., one of the premier independent “20-Group” providers in the industry, administers and moderates the A-Plus Network Vision Groups.
A-Plus Network members not only benefit through their Vision Group participation, but are also assisted by the program’s many business-building opportunities. These include specialized marketing and management programs, industry leading business training through A-Plus Network University, insurance relations programs, loyalty benefits and specialized programs and services from outstanding contributors.
For more information visit www.a-plusnetwork.com.
Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant has received a platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification program. The facility is the first and only automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the Platinum certification. The $1 billion plant was also rated as the cleanest and most energy-efficient car-manufacturing site in the world by the U.S. Green Building Council on December 1.
Platinum certification recognizes the highest level of performance.
“Because Volkswagen has a longstanding, worldwide commitment to sustainable mobility and environmentally responsible manufacturing, we are proud to have achieved the LEED Platinum certification at our Chattanooga manufacturing facility,” said Hubert Waltl, member of the board of management of Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand for production and logistics.
“Volkswagen Chattanooga’s LEED Platinum certification is the fulfillment of a promise that Volkswagen has made around the world and in this community that we will work in harmony with the environment,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga.
Our commitment to building a LEED certified factory began in the planning and design stages,” Fischer said, “I believe that this not only helped insure that we would achieve Platinum status, but was actually a very cost effective way to implement environmentally responsible building methods,” he said.
The ultra-clean paint shop alone will save 50 million gallons of water in ten years.
Sarasota County fire officials are investigating what caused a fire at an auto body repair shop in Venice, FL, on December 7 that caused extensive damage to the building, sent smoke through adjacent neighborhoods and disrupted traffic during the morning commute. No one was injured in the fire.
The fire was in an industrial park on James Street, east of the U.S. 41 Bypass. Twenty firefighting units from Venice, Sarasota County and Nokomis responded.
Firefighters arrived at 7:03 a.m. to see smoke coming from the building. First responders were on the scene within seven minutes. At least 45 firefighters started a defensive attack from the outside of the auto body and cabinet shops.
Within minutes the building was fully involved, according to county fire officials. Battalion chief Glenn Snyder said the fire was out within 90 minutes.
Fire officials said there was a woodworking shop in the rear, and an auto body shop in front. Many of the vehicles in the repair shop's parking area, some with for sale signs on them, suffered damage in the fire.
Traffic was re-routed around the area for the majority of the morning.
The assistant chief says they did not have to worry about search and rescue because of the time of day.
“The main concern of the incident commander was to first confine the fire to make sure it did not spread to the adjacent buildings and to actually locate the seed of the fire, and then begin the extinguishment,” the assistant chief said.
No one was injured. There is no estimation of the damages to the two buildings at this time, but they appear to be destroyed.
The State Fire Marshal will continue with the investigation.
The collision industry has certainly seen its fair share of challenges this year. As everyone in this industry considers the promises and hope a new year can bring, we asked some of you in Autobody News’ Southeast region to take a hard look at some of the issues they saw in 2011, and especially those they’d like to see less of in 2012.
Barrett Smith, Owner Auto Damage Experts in Dover, FL, and active Florida Auto Collision Alliance member, gave his opinion on the collision industry during the last year.
“Concerns with Direct Repair Programs (DRP) continue to plague the industry,” said Smith.
Among the insurer-body shop relations Smith cited were the continual efforts of the Collision Repair Industry to meet the ever-changing goals (KPIs, mandates, restrictions, levels, etc.) that insurers place upon both DRP participants and non-participants; the compelling constraints of such KPIs as “Prevailing Competitive Pricing/Practice (PCP) upon repairers and consumers; and the lack of accountability of repairers and insurers for less than adequate repair allowances and resulting repair quality.
Eddie Quintela wants to know why GEICO is charging his customers a 10% deductible on their domestic OEM parts, regardless of fault, and in addition to regular deductible and/or applicable betterments. Quintela asks why GEICO is apparently assessing this fee in Palm Beach county but not in nearby Polk county; and why is it that an insured driving a foreign made vehicle is not deducted 10% for OEM parts, but one driving a vehicle made in the United States is made to pay 10% extra for their parts?
Quintela sent his first email to GEICO’s Dan Maloney, his local claims supervisor, on Dec. 7:
As part of the celebration to commemorate the 15th anniversary of SmartLift®, the world’s most popular inground lift, Rotary Lift conducted a campaign to give away the 50,000th SmartLift. Thousands of entries were received, and a winner has been drawn: Keith Pastorius, service manager of Precision Auto Repair in Mayville, Wisc.
The 50,000th SmartLift inground lift is a 10,000 lbs. capacity model that features the patent-pending new Trio™ superstructure. This new design increases technician productivity by providing greater drive-through clearance, improved lift-to-vehicle clearance, and extended arm reach. A plaque affixed to the lift’s superstructure features the “Proven 15/50” campaign logo and marks the significance of the 50,000th SmartLift. Pastorius also received a framed certificate recognizing Precision Auto Repair as the giveaway winner. It was presented by the shop’s local distributor, Oil Equipment Company of Madison, Wisc.
“We’d like to thank the dealers and shop owners who have made SmartLift the world’s best-selling inground lift,” says John Rylee, Rotary Lift director of marketing. “Customers know they can count on the Rotary Lift SmartLift. It’s the original environmentally friendly inground lift with proven performance in thousands of service facilities worldwide for more than 15 years.”
When it comes to bay productivity and shop profitability, nothing beats a SmartLift inground lift. SmartLift inground lifts take up less space than surface lifts, have no above-ground posts to get in the way and offer unrestricted access to all of a vehicle’s service parts. They also have a longer useful life than surface lifts, providing reliable service for 30 years or more.
The SmartLift also offers a host of environmentally friendly features. Its underground components are completely enclosed in a polymer composite housing made of recycled materials. The containment unit protects the environment from any potential leaks, while at the same time protecting the lift itself from corrosion and electrolysis. The SmartLift also uses less than five gallons of hydraulic fluid and can operate on bio-based fluid. SmartLift inground lifts do not rely on expensive and inefficient air compressors to operate. Their small, economical motor runs only when the lift is being raised. The lift’s air locks use a minimal amount of air from a shop’s standard air system.
Lift service times are also slashed with SmartLift. All SmartLift maintenance can be performed at ground level without removing the lift. Rotary Lift’s patented EasyAccess™ cylinder does not require bleeding and can be serviced in just two hours — that’s 75 percent less time than required for competitive cylinders, providing a significant savings in downtime.
Rotary Lift SmartLift inground lifts are made in the U.S.A. They are third-party tested by ETL and ALI certified to meet ANSI safety and performance standards.
For more information about the Rotary Lift SmartLift, contact your local Rotary Lift distributor, visit www.rotarylift.com or call (800) 640-5438. You can also find Rotary Lift on Facebook, www.facebook.com/RotaryLift; Twitter, http://twitter.com/RotaryLift; and YouTube, www.youtube.com/RotaryLiftMedia.
Huntington Beach Body Works will host their fourth annual Christmas party, Saturday, December 17 from 1:00p.m. – 3:30p.m. The party will be hosted by Rich and Patricia Evans and will benefit America's Baby Cancer Foundation.
The party will include a special appearance from Santa with gifts, food, drinks, and special motor sports themed entertainment.
The event will be held at Huntington Beach Bodyworks, 18108 Redondo Circle Huntington Beach, CA 92648.
For more information please visit www.babycancer.org or www.huntingtonbchbodyworks.com.
The Houston city council has voted to delay the Automotive Repair Shop Licensing Ordinance for two weeks. The council remains divided on several items within the licensing ordinance, and the majority feels that more time should be granted to have input from additional small business owners. The delay will allow more time for further deliberation and communication with members of the Houston city council over potential changes in the proposed ordinance language.
The Automotive Service Association’s (ASA) Houston chapter sent a letter to Annise D. Parker, Houston city mayor, and all members of the city council, recommending changes to Section 8 of the current proposed Automotive Repair Shop Licensing Ordinance. While the ordinance has improved dramatically since ASA began working with the city, ASA believes further changes are necessary for the association to be supportive. ASA’s proposed changes will benefit consumers and the automotive service industry.
The National Auto Body Council (NABC) has announced the winners of the 16th annual 2011 Pride Awards, the cornerstone of NABC’S mission to create positive public awareness of the collision repair industry, and an institution with a legacy almost as long as NABC, itself. The honors were bestowed at the Collision Industry Achievement Luncheon in Las Vegas on Wednesday, November 2 in conjunction with the SEMA Show.
The accomplishments of the recipients are as diverse as they are inspiring:
One afternoon while out running errands, Jordan Hendler saw a teenage girl on a freeway overpass. She looked like she was going to jump. Jordan called 911 and started walking toward her. She and another Good Smaritan started to pull the teenager off the bridge, but the girl fought back, hysterical, struggling with Jordan to free herself. Almost four minutes later—an eternity when you’re wrestling with someone determined to commit suicide—the police and ambulance arrived and the girl was safe thanks to Jordan’s unwavering efforts. “I can’t explain exactly what gave me the strength and the will to do it,” Jordan says. “I hope that young girl gets some help so that whatever is burdening her can pass.”
It was about 10:30 at night when Joe Gloar dropped off his last load of windshields for Safelite Auto Glass in Waterloo, Iowa. Joe was heading home to Davenport, when a sport utility vehicle broadsided his truck, hitting it so hard it flipped and skidded upside down into a building. In the meantime, the SUV caught fire. Joe unbuckled his seat belt, climbed out of his truck, and ran to the SUV. He saw that the driver lay dazed and still. Joe threw open the door, unbuckled the driver’s seat belt, and pulled him out. Seconds later the SUV burst into flames. The driver was safe, thanks to Joe.
A student of collision repair at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Jessica Anderson is a Skills USA participant that decided she wanted to use her collision training to help people. She knew there were always students in need of affordable, reliable transportation, and saw plenty of cars in the area just waiting to be fixed. Utilizing the resources at her school, she brought a car in need of repair to the mechanical department for safety inspections, then she and her team of dedicated students and instructors finished the collision repair work. That project went to a full‐time criminal justice student with a family of four, previously without transportation. This is to be the first in series of reconstructed vehicles that will be donated to students recommended by their instructor. Jessica is working with her own instructor, Mark Tilson, to procure more cars and expand the program into the community.
Derek Willemson owns Micherner Auto Body in Kentbridge, Ontario, Canada. His shop is at the crossroads of Longwoods Rd. and Kentbridge Rd., an intersection notorious for bad accidents. Last August he heard a horrific crash while working in his shop. Derek looked out and saw a truck straddling a car in the intersection, engulfed in flames. He ran to help and despite being surrounded by fire, pulled a man and a woman from the back seat. The woman’s leg was caught between the door and the front seat. Derek ripped the rear door off to get her out. “I just knew I had to get those people out of the car,” Derek told the police. “The people in the front seat; they were not moving.” Derek has begun to work with the Kentbridge Township as an active advocate for better traffic control at the intersection.
Richard Henegar Jr.
For Richard Henegar Jr., Quality Paint and Body in Roanoke, Virginia is the family business. Jr.’s best friend, Jason Clary, was deployed to Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne. Jason left his truck at Quality for a tune‐up. Jr. knew Jason always helped people and never asked for anything in return, so Jr. decided to do something nice for him. He, with help from friends and vendors, performed an interior and exterior restoration of Jason’s car, including the sound system. They painted the bottom of the truck gold pearl, and the top black, a re‐creation of the Afghan desert environment. The rear truck box wall was painted like a rock climbing wall, a passion the two friends share. When Jason came home, Jr. organized a surprise party at the shop covered by a local television station. It was a tearful welcome for a brave warrior.
Ohio Technical College has done it again. For the fourth consecutive year, the leading technical training school has received the Weatherhead 100 Award by Case Weatherhead School of Management and The Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE).
The 2011 Weatherhead 100 Award recognizes the fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio, based on the percentage of sales growth from 2006-2010. Ohio Technical College placed 46 out of 100 companies on the list.
To be eligible for the award, companies also must have net sales over $1 million and have a minimum of 16 full-time employees in 2011. OTC and its branch campus the PowerSport Institute currently have over 1,400 students enrolled in class - a 7% increase over last year. Currently, more than 270 employees work at the college.
Ohio Technical College first held classes in 1969 as the Ohio Diesel Mechanics School, conducting six -week courses in Cleveland's Warehouse district. Today, students at Ohio Technical College can choose from more than 20 specialized technician training programs in automotive, motorcycle, diesel equipment, collision repair and refinishing, custom paint and graphics, classic car restoration, high performance and racing, alternative fuel vehicles, power generator systems, welding and BMW training.
Ohio Technical College (OTC) is an accredited private, proprietary technical school dedicated to providing premier technical training in the world of modern mechanics by pursuing industry alliances, providing outstanding training equipment and focusing on the needs of individual students. An Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) college, OTC and its PowerSport Institute branch campus encompass nearly 800,000 sq. feet of classroom and workshop space. OTC offers technician training programs in Automotive, Diesel, Auto-Diesel, Collision Repair, Classic Car Restoration, High Performance and Racing, Welding and PowerSport Technology as well as specialization in BMW, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Custom Bike Building, Custom Paint and Graphics, and Power Generator Systems. Motorcycle technician training is provided through the PowerSport Institute, a branch campus of OTC in North Randall, Ohio. For more information, call 800.322.7000 ext. 163; or visit www.ohiotech.edu and www.psi-now.com.
Since its inception in 1987, the Weatherhead 100 has been the event that showcases the fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio. Qualifying companies must show consistent growth over the last five years. The Weatherhead 100 list - objectively determined annually and highly regarded throughout the region - is a testament to hard work, commitment, innovation and the dream to succeed. For more information, visit www.weatherhead100.org.
After more than 15 years in Cullman, AL, auto parts supplier Keystone Automotive celebrated the grand opening of a new facility December 6 on Golf Course Road. The new, 60,000-square-foot location replaces their older, smaller site at Cherokee Avenue, according to the Cullman Times.
The expansion included a $3 million investment in equipment and construction, which retained 41 jobs in Cullman County.
John Fowler, with Keystone, said the expansion has been in the works for several years, as the company planned for sustained growth in the area.
“We’ve been working and trying for two years to move and relocate, so this is a long time coming,” he said. “Without the help of the economic development office and local officials, this might not have been possible.”
Cullman County Commission Chairman James Graves praised Keystone’s commitment to the community since opening in 1993.
“Keystone has really been a stable, quiet entity in the community,” he said. “After hearing about the expansion I was excited to see it come together. We’re so proud to have such a quality company in Cullman County.”
“With 40 employees, Keystone makes a significant impact, in areas like sales tax for the community,” he said. “They’ve been a great corporate citizen and we look forward to the next 20 years.”
Cullman Mayor Max Townson said Keystone exemplifies the diversity present in the industrial climate of the city and county.
“We’ve very proud of Keystone, and its an asset for this community,” he said. “I also want to thank the economic development office and development boards, because they all played a role in attracting and keeping Keystone in Cullman.”
Keystone is an after market supplier of auto parts, serving areas across Alabama and the southeast.
Daniel Anderson was named as Florida’s lead insurance fraud investigator earlier this month by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, according to Claims Journal.
Anderson will take over as the director of the state’s Division of Insurance Fraud, where he will oversee 155 sworn law enforcement officers, managers and administrators. He will also supervise 48 non-sworn civilian support staff. The division made over 1,000 fraud-related arrests in the last year.
Anderson comes to the division after a 25-year career with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration where he most recently served as an associated special agent in charge of the DEA’s New York Field Division overseeing more than 800 employees.
He also served as an instructor at the DEA Academy, group supervisor at the DEA’s Norfolk, Virginia office, and unit chief of operations management at the DEA headquarters.
Mercedes-Benz said December 2 that its Alabama plant has produced its 1.5 millionth vehicle, according to the Birmingham News.
The automaker said the milestone vehicle produced at the Vance factory was a silver ML 350 SUV for a customer in Encino, CA.
"We are extremely proud of this significant milestone," Markus Schaefer, CEO of the Alabama plant, said in a statement. "This year has been both challenging and rewarding for our team members, who live and work here in Alabama to help us achieve our goal of delivering superior products to our global customers."
The first M-Class rolled off the assembly line in Vance on Feb. 14, 1997. The plant employs 2,800 people, a figure that will rise to 4,200 as Mercedes invests another $2 billion in the operation and begins production of new models.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law that bans the use of credit in underwriting and rating private passenger motor vehicle insurance in his state, according to reports made by Insurance Journal.
The law, Chapter 195 of the Acts of 2011, was signed by the governor in late November. The ban has already been in practice in the state but as an administrative regulation. This latest measure codifies into law the state’s current administrative ban on the use of credit scoring.
“We want to commend the legislature and the Patrick Administration for their leadership and support on this important issue,” commented Frank Mancini, President and CEO of Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents. His group has been the driving force in the state to put into law the current ban on using credit information.
Massachusetts is already a state with some of the most strict bans in the nation regarding the use of credit information and socioeconomic factors in underwriting.
Mancini added that “especially during these difficult financial times, this legislation will provide Massachusetts consumers with much-needed protection against an unfair, unreliable, and discriminatory rate-setting practice.”
“People just don’t believe their financial woes or a mistake on their credit report should affect their ability to buy affordable auto insurance,” he said. “We were gratified to see so many officials on Beacon Hill share this sentiment and take action to prevent this from occurring.”
Mancini pointed to a poll commissioned in August by his association showing that Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly supported this measure. By a margin of 68.3 percent to 31.6 percent, respondents across diverse demographic groups believed that auto insurance premiums should be based as much as possible on an individual’s driving record and years of driving experience.
Days before the one-year anniversary of the world's first Nissan LEAF delivery on Dec. 11, Nissan North America Inc. (NNA) expanded availability of the all-electric LEAF into new U.S. markets. After one year and 20,000 global deliveries, the Nissan LEAF remains the world's first and only all-electric car for the mass market.
December 6, Nissan has re-opened reservations and has begun taking orders from the general public for the 2012 Nissan LEAF in Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Deliveries of the LEAF, enriched for the 2012 model year with additional standard equipment including quick charging and cold-weather features, will take place in these key markets beginning in spring 2012.
"Nissan LEAFs have been on the U.S. roads for one year now, and thousands of drivers have become living proof that a 100-percent electric, zero-emissions vehicle fulfills the daily needs of drivers from all walks of life," said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA. "We are seeing already-strong interest in the LEAF continue to grow across the country. This market expansion brings us one step closer to true, nationwide availability."
With this new wave of availability, Nissan LEAF is now available for order in 30 states, including Washington, D.C. Nationwide, 50-state ordering will be available by March 2012.
For more information visit http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.
Syracuse is following the lead of several other New York area cities and shelving its plans for stoplight cameras.
The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports that the city had asked companies to bid on installing cameras at intersections last fall in hopes of catching people who run red lights. A spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Miner told the newspaper that the project was abandoned last week.
Spokesman Bill Ryan said the red-light cameras have brought criticism and legal hassles in other cities. Seven states; Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wisconsin, have banned red light cameras. Los Angeles, CA, was also reportedly losing $1.5 million a year on its cameras.
Syracuse Common Councilor Lance Denno said he didn’t think cameras would make the city’s streets safer.
Golden State Collision Centers, Inc. will present five rehabilitated vehicles in Sacramento, CA. to families in need. The vehicles will be presented during their annual “Giving Back to the Community Benevolence Event” at 8:30 a.m., December 13, 2011, at the Golden State Collision Center, 7407 Roseville Road, Sacramento, CA.
The Golden State Collision Centers’ “Giving Back to the Community Benevolence Event” has benefited thirteen local families over the past four years with restored vehicles. This year, in conjunction with Farmer’s Insurance Group, GEICO Insurance, Cottage Housing, Inc. and Roseville Home Start, refurbished vehicles will once again be presented to in-need families from the Northern California area.
“Each year, we come across cars that are written off by either the owner or the insurance company. Often these older vehicles are simply in need of mechanical or body work to get them road-ready and safe to drive. In these economic times, Golden State believes there are people who really need them, and this is the basis of this annual program,” said Dave Finkelstein, owner of Golden State Collision Centers, Inc. “We are delighted to be able to not only continue this program but also to increase our donation amounts in a time where people are still suffering economically. The gift of a vehicle is one that truly changes lives and we are honored to be able to connect with our local community in effecting a positive change.”
Local vendors, including AutoWest Dodge, Car Quest, LKQ, Keystone Automotive, Ertl’s Automotive, The Dent Shoppe, John L. Sullivan, Standox, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Farmer’s Insurance Group, GEICO Insurance, and employees of Golden State Collision Centers, Inc. donated their time and services as part of this program.
For more information about Golden State Collision Centers, visit www.goldenstatecollision.com or www.facebook.com/goldenstatecollision.
In a step toward possibly moving Lexus' global headquarters out of Japan, the automaker has decided to transfer its global marketing functions from Japan to a new decision-making center in Torrance, California.
According to Automotive News, the shift begins in January with the creation of an office at Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.'s campus in Torrance. It will handle creative marketing and some brand communications worldwide, said Karl Schlicht, head of Lexus' global product and marketing planning division.
The decision was made last summer and only one person has been appointed to open the unit. The automaker plans to expand staff to three in January.
Executive Vice President Yukitoshi Funo said the move is part of Lexus' attempt to remake itself as a "transnational" -- rather than Japanese -- brand.
Lexus aims to bolster its brand image by strengthening its performance credentials and assuming a more international flavor.
As an example of the new mentality, one executive cited the decision not to serve sushi or offer chopsticks at a Lexus dinner reception held in advance of the Tokyo Motor Show. He said: "We don't want to be blatantly Japanese."
The National Auto Body Council (NABC) has selected January 11, 2012 for its upcoming annual golf event fundraiser, which will again take place at the Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort in Palm Springs, California.
The event is held in conjunction with the NABC’s open board meeting, which will take place the previous day, January 10.
Because it is a major source of funding for the NABC, the fundraising event plays an integral part in providing the resources that support the organization in its mission of improving the image of all dedicated collision industry professionals. Not only does it help NABC implement the programs and activities that define it and give shape to this purpose, it helps reduce the cost of NABC’s programs for participants, making them more affordable.
The fundraising golf event is open to both individuals and teams, and will be played using a four-person scramble format. Breakfast will be served at the course prior to the 10 am shotgun start and the event will conclude with a buffet reception, awards ceremony, and prize package drawings. Transportation will be provided to and from the Palm Springs Hilton, the conference hotel, to the Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort.
“As this event is the one and only fundraiser for the National Auto Body Council, we are excited that the new start time will allow for an entire day at the course,” said David Merrell of CSi Complete, who with Domenic Brusco of PPG is the NABC fundraising committee co-chair. “Without this event and the industry’s support we could not continue the mission and vision of the NABC.”
Making the event even more special will be a vehicle gifting presentation which is part of NABC’s Recycled Rides® program. The vehicle gifting will take place at the golf course before play begins.
Visit www.autobodycouncil.org to register.
Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) announced that Ron Nagy, AAM, president and owner of Nagy's Collision Center, will return for a second term as the event chairman for the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE).
Bill Moss, AAM, owner of Ferris EuroService Automotive, will be the next event chairman for the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS). Each chairperson will represent his segment of the industry and ASRW. ASRW 2012 is scheduled for Oct. 11-13 (with an education conference beginning Wednesday, Oct. 10) at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La.
Moss replaces Mitch Schneider who has concluded a two-year term as CARS chairman from 2010-2011.
Auto body repair shops in Anchorage, Alaska are not complaining about the near-record snowfall and icy roads which have sent so many drivers careening into one another this winter.
Click HERE to read KTUU coverage
Chrysler is reviving the Dodge Dart name for a new compact car on sale next year.
Chrysler Group said the Dart is based on the design of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, much praised in Europe for its style and road manners. Like Chrysler Group, Alfa Romeo is owned by Fiat. The Giuletta platform has been lengthened and widened for the U.S. entry. Full details of the new car will be announced in January at the Detroit auto show.
Click HERE to Read CBS story
Auto repair shops are stepping up their efforts against insurance companies, which they argue are controlling their prices by steering customers toward preferred businesses that do their bidding. Auto body trade groups are promoting bills in state legislatures from Massachusetts to Iowa to try to change the rules of the game.
Continue Reading in USA TODAY HERE
BASF Automotive Refinish announced its COLOR-MAXmobile2 solid color tool on December 6. COLOR-MAXmobile2 is compact and portable and provides 531 color chips in the palm of your hand. All chips can be easily compared to the vehicle with up to five colors on a single swatch.
BASF’s family of COLOR-MAX tools is the most advanced color matching system in the industry in terms of accuracy, color range and ease of use. The new COLOR-MAXmobile2, now in its second generation, provides an unmatched level of quality and accuracy in a handy format that will help bodyshops be more productive.
BASF’s advanced design includes a larger range of chips for white, red and black colors. The deck contains the whitest whites and the darkest blacks available in refinish technology today. Using the COLOR-MAXmobile2, a paint technician can scan the entire range of colors simply by fanning out the swatch book. A hole in each chip is designed to allow easier viewing against a painted surface. The innovative case allows the user to open the deck past 90 degrees for easier maneuverability.
All the color chips are matched in R-M® ONYX HDTM and Glasurit® 90-LineTM to ensure the best reproduction possible. COLOR-MAXmobile2 is an accurate, inexpensive and powerful tool that will improve performance and save bodyshops and car enthusiasts time with the first use and everyday after that,” said Vitor Margaronis, Marketing Director, Coatings Solutions, North America.
For more information about BASF’s COLOR-MAXmobile2 contact the Color Information Customer service representatives at 1-800-758-BASF (2273).
To learn about BASF refinish products visit us at: www.basfrefinish.com.
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) reports that over 20 additional state and regional groups have asked to be recognized in support of the repair standards position taken by national associations representing the collision repair industry in early November. This clearly demonstrates a uniform voice within the industry, and that the vision for standards development and adherence outlined by the national associations is supported and embraced by the representative bodies of collision repairers coast to coast. To date, the following groups, representing 22 states, have added their official endorsement to the statement:
Alliance of Automotive Service Providers - MA (AASP-MA)
Alliance of Automotive Service Providers - PA (AASP-PA)
Alliance of Automotive Service Providers - NJ (AASP-NJ)
Alliance of Automotive Service Providers - MN (AASP-MN)
Alliance of Automotive Service Providers - MO (AASP-MO)
Automotive Service Council of Kentucky (ASCKY)
Auto Body and Painting Association of Hawaii (ABPAH)
California Autobody Association (CAA)
Choice Autobody Repair Association (CARA)
Florida Auto Collision Alliance (FACA)
Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA)
Houston Auto Body Association (HABA)
Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC)
Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA)
Iowa Collision Repair Association (ICRA)
Long Island Auto Body Repair Association (LIABRA)
Missouri / Kansas Chapter of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS MO/KAN)
Montana Collision Repair Specialists (MCRS)
New York State Auto Collision Technicians (NYSACT)
Oregon Collision Repair Specialists (OCRS)
South Dakota Auto Body Association (SDABA)
U.S. Alliance of Collision Professionals (USACP)
Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA)
The statement made clear that the collision repair industry is to recognize the automobile Original Equipment Manufacturers' (OEM) repair procedures as the official basis for collision industry repair standards. Further, the group asked the I-CAR Board of Directors to consider forming a council within its organizational structure to liaison with the OEM and address deficiencies in the current repair procedures.
If a car gets towed in Houston without the owner's consent, it stays in Houston, the City Council decided Nov. 30. Houston City council approved changes to the city's ordinance covering towing companies and auto shops that is geared toward "trying to make sure that an unhealthy relationship between the tow truck drivers and collision repair shops is monitored more closely," Mayor Annise Parker said, according tho the Houston Chronicle. "There are lots of reports that after accidents, tow trucks may be being paid bounties to take cars to particular collision repair shops."
The city ordinance mainly requires better record-keeping at body shops, cap repair work without consent at $100 and mandate a written estimate of any special fees. Industry representatives, including the Houston Auto Body Association (HABA), applaud some of the proposed mandates but are quick to say others may end up bogging down reputable businesses, slowing their ability to serve customers.
James Brown, of the Houston Auto Body Association (HABA), testified before the Mayor and City Council on behalf of HABA on November 29, voicing the HABA's concerns with the current language in the ordinance. Brown was pulled into a private meeting with the Mayor's Assistant, the City Attorney, and members of HPD Auto Dealers Division (Capt Baimbridge & Sgt Provost) following his testimony. The meeting lasted around an hour and a half and the group informed Brown that none of the latest revisions HABA requested would be honored for one reason or another.
"We do think there’s a lot of good things in there, said James Brown, the president of the HABA, to KHOU 11 News Houston. "But there are a lot of things that still need some work. There are a lot of things in there that give the insurance companies the same authority as the consumer—the owner of the vehicle—which we would like to see taken out."
Honda has widened its biggest recall to fix flaws related to airbags in models including the Civic and Accord produced as long as ten years ago. Previously the company announced it was calling back 304,000 vehicles made in 2001 and 2002, including the Accord, Civic, Odyssey and CR-V. The recall now covers an additional 917,267 vehicles worldwide, said spokesman Keitaro Yamamoto. That brings the total to more than 2.77 million, the company's biggest recall for an individual flaw. More than 90 percent of the affected vehicles are in the United States.
Honda has also determined that approximately 640 affected driver’s airbag service parts were sold and installed in vehicles that needed these parts replaced from collision repairs. The automaker will inspect approximately 603,000 vehicles because they cannot determine which vehicles these service parts were installed in. Honda will replace the parts in the affected vehicles following the inspection. This recall now includes certain 2001 and 2002 Accord, 2001 to 2003 Civic, 2001 to 2003 Odyssey, 2002 and 2003 CR-V, 2003 Pilot, 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL vehicles.
"Affected driver's airbag inflators may deploy with too much pressure, which can cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury or fatality," the company said in a statement.
Magna International Inc. announced Dec 1 that its Magna Electronics operating unit, in conjunction with Mobileye, its partner for image processing, has developed an innovative driver assistance system that uses a single, forward-looking video camera to provide safety and convenience features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings. More affordable than comparable systems, the Magna system has recently launched on General Motors vehicles in the North American market, available as an option on the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.
Service King Collision Repair Centers donated a Recycled Ride vehicle to a Houston-area family that was selected by AVANCE, a non-profit, community-based organization offering comprehensive early childhood education/parenting and family support services.
Andreana Felix, recipient of the Recycled Ride, has endured many struggles as a single mother of four young children. She walks her children to and from school daily, which includes transporting her young son’s asthma machine that he must utilize constantly. She also takes two buses just to get to work. This vehicle will provide Andreana the ability to have ample transportation to get back and forth to work as well as getting her children to and from school.
Nissan has announced that it has sold 20,000 units of its electric car LEAF worldwide and is on track to sell 10,000 units in the United States by the end of this year. Of the total number, about 60% were sold in the US. This compares to about 5,000 copies of the Chevy Volt.
Registration and event sponsorship is now open for the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s 11th annual golf fundraiser event taking place the morning of Thursday, July 19, 2012 in San Antonio.
Golfers will enjoy a round of golf at the La Cantera Resort’s The Palmer Course. As the Education Foundation’s 2011 golf fundraiser sold-out 4 months in advance, industry professionals are encouraged to register for this year’s golf fundraiser early as it is anticipated to be sold-out by early 2012. This fundraiser takes place in conjunction with the CIC and I-CAR industry meetings being held that week in San Antonio, and funds raised through this event assist the Education Foundation in providing support to collision repair students and their school’s collision programs.
To enhance the day of raising funds for a great cause and networking with industry professionals from around the country, San Antonio based Mac Haik’s Southway Ford has generously offered a 2012 Ford F150 FX2 as a hole-in-one prize during the event. Attendees will have the opportunity to drive away with their prize through one lucky shot.
Early-bird individual player registration is $200 p/person ($800 foursome team) before March 1, 2012 and $250 p/person ($1,000 foursome team) after March 1, 2012. Registration includes 18 holes of golf, cart rental, complimentary beverages/snacks on the course, breakfast, buffet lunch, attendee promotional items, and the opportunity to participate in several contests on the course. For those attendees who will be traveling into San Antonio to attend industry meetings that week, complimentary transportation will be provided to and from the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Hotel to the golf course.
GM has announced that it will buy back any Volt from a dissatisfied customer, according to an interview in the Associated Press. CEO Dan Akerson insisted Dec. 1 that the cars are safe, but said the company will repurchase the Volts because it wants to keep customers happy. Three fires have broken out in Volts after side-impact crash tests done by the federal government.
Akerson said that if necessary, GM will recall the more than 6,000 Volts now on the road in the U.S. and repair them once the company and federal safety regulators figure out what caused the fires.
The company also may redesign the battery for its Volt to address issues raised after federal officials opened a safety probe into the plug-in electric car, CEO Dan Akerson said.
"We want to assure the safety of our customers, of our buyers, and so we're just going to take a time out, if you will, in terms of redesigning the battery possibly," Akerson told Reuters in a separate interview.
GM said it would offer loaner vehicles to about 5,500 Volt owners as it works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on ways to reduce the risk of battery fires breaking out days after crashes involving the car.
The steps came in response to a decision by NHTSA to open an investigation into the safety of the Volt's battery pack. A lithium-ion battery pack in a Volt that had been through a crash test in May caught fire three weeks later at a test facility in Wisconsin, according to NHTSA.
In lab tests completed last week by U.S. safety regulators, a second Volt pack began to smoke and throw off sparks while a third battery pack caught fire a week after a simulated crash.
Athletes warm up a little more before competition on colder days. Motorists know that engine oil becomes thicker in the winter cold. Things are not all that different with clearcoats and hardeners, which also tend to become more viscous during the cold season if not stored properly.
Paint material should have a temperature of 68°F (20°C) to 77°F (25°C) for spraying, as this ensures the best reaction between the clearcoat and the hardener. For chemical reactions to run smoothly, warm conditions are much better than cold. This is the reason why you heat up a low bake oven for drying clearcoat. It is virtually impossible to achieve perfect surface results with cold paint materials, because it will inevitably produce flaws.
The same applies to the substrates. Care should be taken that the vehicle body is not too cold before applying the paint. If the substrate is too cold, this will have an adverse impact on the flow and the surface finish.
To ensure consistent quality, the labs at Standox® test everything under standardized conditions. The same is true of our production department, which delivers our clearcoats with a defined viscosity. Standox® knows that body shops cannot always guarantee the same perfect conditions as our labs. While Standox® products are relatively adaptable, certain minimum conditions must be ensured to avoid flaws. Processing and storage temperature of 68°F (20°C) is ideal.
If the product appears to be too viscous, although you have mixed it correctly; you should check the temperature of the material. In many cases, it is too cold. Adding thinner in order to reduce the viscosity is not the right solution. This is not only bad for the environment and your wallet, but will also cause flaws such as orange peel. Adding more coats to achieve a smooth flow will do even more harm, as excessive coats may lead to blisters and sagging.
Standox® is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of automotive refinishing paints. The company, headquartered in Wuppertal, Germany, offers innovative and environmentally compatible product systems worldwide. Standox® seeks to build long-term relationships with its customers based on premium product quality and high levels of practical support. Technical approvals from all major manufacturers reflect the company’s position as a leading partner to the automotive industry. As such, the Standox® brand gives professional refinishers the assurance of excellent results. For more information, visit standoxna.com.