Regional News

Keep up with the latest collision repair industry news in your area.

map of united states
Lithia Motors Acquires Top Buick GMC Dealerships in Memphis
  • southeast
  • Digital Magazine Edition
  • July 2024
  • AL · FL · GA · MS · NC
  • SC · TN · VA · WV
  • Read Now
  • Subscribe
Rhode Island Tops U.S. for Average Collision Repair Costs
  • northeast
  • Digital Magazine Edition
  • July 2024
  • CT · DE · ME · MD · MA · NH
  • NJ · NY · PA · RI · VT
  • Read Now
  • Subscribe
Michigan Bill Aims to Ease Burden on Auto Repair Shops
  • midwest
  • Digital Magazine Edition
  • July 2024
  • IL · IN · IA · KS · KY · MI · MN
  • MO · NE · ND · OH · SD · WI
  • Read Now
  • Subscribe

Regional News

Keep up with the latest collision repair industry news in your area.

map of united states

Trade Shows

  • 2023 SEMA Show Cruises Through Day 2: Recap with Photo Gallery

    2023-SEMA-Show-Day-2-recap

    The automotive aftermarket industry's annual gathering offered another full day of eye-popping builds, innovative products and educational sessions.

    The 2023 SEMA Show offered plenty more to see and do its second day, Nov. 1, including informative sessions to help collision repair professionals grow their businesses and a moving donation of refurbished vehicles to local residents chosen by nonprofits.

    Missed our Day 1 recap and photo gallery? See it here.

    Red Carpet Awards and CIC 40th Anniversary Gala

    2023-SEMA-Sho-Day-2-recap
    Kye Yeung from European Motor Car Works received the March Taylor Kina'ole Award from SCRS. Pictured, left to right, are Barry Dorn of Dorn's Body & Paint, Amber Alley of Barsotti's Body & Fender, Brenda and Kye Yeung, and Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of SCRS.

    The Collision Repair Industry Red Carpet Awards were held the evening of Oct. 31, coinciding with a gala celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC), held earlier that day.

    Among the annual awards announced were those sponsored by CIECAI-CAR, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the National Auto Body Council (NABC).

    NABC Recycled Rides Presentation

    The NABC Recycled Rides program presented seven restored vehicles to deserving Las Vegas residents, including U.S. military veterans, a brain cancer survivor, a single parent and former foster kids who aged out of the system, all of whom needed help securing reliable transportation.

    The vehicles were unveiled on the roof of the Renaissance Hotel parking garage, overlooking the SEMA Show’s outdoor exhibits. Also attending the presentations were all car donor, insurance and repairer partners.

    SCRS RDE Series

    SCRS is offering more than a dozen Repairer Driven Education sessions during the show.

    Among those covered by Autobody News writers were sessions investigating the “death” of the estimator role and what body shop owners and other industry partners can do to ensure there are enough skilled technicians in five years.

    2023-SEMA-Show-Day-2-recap
    The final donated vehicle is revealed at the NABC Recycled Rides presentation.

     
    In another session, CIC Chairman Frank Terlep of Opus IVS offered what he called the “formula for business success,” considering current events. Terlep challenged attendees to rethink how they lead and manage their organizations, how they “keep score,” how they create and measure business processes, and how they select and implement technology to drive business processes and employee productivity.

    Another panel, moderated by Greg Peeters of Car ADAS Solutions, featured owners and operators of ADAS calibration centers talking about the challenge and opportunities in launching such businesses.

    More Custom Builds

    The Autobody News team also roamed the Central Hall, home to the hugely popular Racing Performance exhibitors and Hot Rod Alley. See the photo gallery from Day 2 below.

    Stay tuned to autobodynews.com or pick up your region's December issue for full coverage of all of these stories from SEMA and more.

  • 2023 SEMA Show Exceeds Attendees’ Expectations 

    2023-SEMA-Show-recap

    More than 150,000 attendees came to Las Vegas for a week of exhibits, custom builds, new products and networking and educational opportunities.

    The SEMA Show returned to Las Vegas Oct. 31-Nov. 3, bringing together more than 150,000 automotive aftermarket industry professionals looking to transform four days of relationship-building, networking, sales and marketing into business success and dreams realized.

    The proof the SEMA Show was poised to return to historic levels was found in the packed Las Vegas Convention Center exhibit halls, teeming with more than 2,200 exhibitors, boundary-pushing builds, innovative new products, thought-provoking educational opportunities and more than 150,000 attendees connecting throughout the aftermarket community. The Show creates connections via dedicated product communities, outdoor activations, education and training, award programs, reveals, unique experiences and celebrations. 

    “The SEMA Show is one of the largest trade shows in the country, but it’s actually comprised of several smaller, distinct communities,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA VP of events. “The networking that takes place within those groups is where you see the transformative power the Show has to positively impact participants and chart the course of the aftermarket industry.”

    Perhaps nowhere else is that transformative power felt more strongly than amongst the companies exhibiting at the Show for the first time. More than 20% of the exhibitors were new participants, driving innovation, including Caross USA, manufacturers of portable jump starters and air compressors, based in San Mateo, CA. The start-up has had products on sale for a mere three months and SEMA was its first trade show. Not only did they meet prospective partners from Canada to Australia, but their networking also gained them exposure via social media and led to a relationship with the television show “Two Guys Garage” and a potential on-air appearance in February. They also won two Global Media Awards (GMA), given by judges comprised of members of the international media to products they feel will be well-received in their respective countries. 

    “You don’t see a lot of ‘tire kickers’ at SEMA, the buyers are much more serious,” said Global Sales Director Steve Stambaugh. “I can’t say enough about SEMA. Being at this Show has done more for our company in two days than other industries do in 10 years.”

    For returning exhibitors, the SEMA Show was an opportunity to continue building on the year-over-year growth that participation creates. For CIC Powerbox of Pittsburg, KS, a manufacturer of AC-powered truck boxes that first exhibited at the Show in 2018, their participation has led to several partnerships.

    “Every time we come to SEMA we come away with new business,” said CEO Mike Windsor, listing the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Air Force, Goodyear and several OEMs as just a few of the relationships forged at the SEMA Show. “We’ve also made connections for opportunities we either weren’t aware of or didn’t know how to get into,” he added, including sponsorship of professional drift racer Faruk Kugayand growth of CIC’s social media marketing as examples. “We’ve had exponential growth year over year and if all goes well, this year we’ll go international thanks to the relationships we’ve made at SEMA,” said Windsor. 

    The Show remains a popular place for OEMs to connect with the aftermarket industry. For Toyota, 2023 was a year to push boundaries. 

    “Toyota has always seen SEMA as a place to let our imagination run wild. This past show was no exception, as we tapped into thrills on the track... and the trail,” said Mike Tripp, group vice president, Toyota Marketing. “The amount of interest in the all-new 2024 Tacoma and Land Cruiser didn't disappoint. And based on the coverage we've received, it's safe to say that builds like our X-Runner Concept and FJ Bruiser were true stars of the show.” 

    For FordPerformance Parts & Accessories, the Show allows them to forge relationships with attendees and share the benefits of their products.

    “The SEMA Show gives us the opportunity to showcase the knowledge of our representatives, talk engineering and support our product with assurances that all accessories are fully reviewed for safety, ergonomics and longevity,” said Natalie Simon, marketing and events manager, Ford Performance Parts & Accessories.   

    For others, Show participation is a step towards achieving the dream of a career in the automotive aftermarket. Masen Schneider, a freshman studying mechanical engineering at the University of North Dakota, received a SEMA Scholarship, awarded annually to students interested in careers in the automotive industry. “It means a lot to receive a scholarship from an organization like SEMA because as big and impactful as they are, they see your story and experience and want to help propel you towards your dream,” he said. Schneider hopes to one day be an automotive parts designer. 

    The SEMA Show also remains a center of innovation fueled by passion, as evidenced by the Battle of the Builders Presented by Mothers Polish competition. The aftermarket industry's ultimate vehicle competition, the program celebrated 10 years of providing builders the ultimate platform to showcase their craftsmanship and skills to a worldwide audience. 

    For Andy Leach, winning builder of the 1960 BuickInvicta Custom, the victory was the culmination of nine years of work. “It’s a dream come true,” said Leach. “I've been chasing this award for nearly a decade. The Buick was a labor of love.” 

    The SEMA Show returns to Las Vegas Nov. 5-8, 2024. To learn more, visit www.semashow.com.

  • 2023 SEMA Show Nears the Finish: Day 3 Recap with Photo Gallery

    2023-SEMA-Show-Day-3-recap

    Enthusiasts came out for another full day of exploring more than 1 million square feet of exhibits, demonstrations and educational opportunities. 

    The third day of the 2023 SEMA Show brought another full day to explore more than 1 million square feet of exhibits, demonstrations and educational opportunities in and around the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Show concludes Nov. 3.

    See our Day 1 recap here and Day 2 here.

    OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit

    The Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ annual OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit took place, including three 90-minute sessions.

    In the first, Mike Slattery, head of insurance for Rivian, Andrew Rose of OnStar Insurance and Rob Spencer of Toyota Insurance discussed how automakers are working to create unique insurance coverage to positively impact the customer experience during the claims and repair process.

    The second session included discussion on trends in automotive materials and what that will mean for collision repairers.

    In the final session, Jordan Krebs of Snap-on Equipment, Doug Kelly of Burke Porterand Josh McFarlin of AirPro Diagnostics outlined the ADAS system calibration solutions they offer, and Mike Anderson of Collision Advice and others joined them to discuss the challenges for collision repairers seeking to ensure OEM-compliant calibrations are made.

    Look out for full coverage of the Summit at autobodynews.com and in your region's future print issue.

  • 2023 SEMA Show Steps on the Gas: Day 1 Recap with Photo Gallery

    SEMA-2023-Day-1-recap

    The first day of the show featured New Product Award winners, custom build reveals and the quarterly CIC meeting.

    The 2023 SEMA Show officially opened Oct. 31 at the Las Vegas Convention Center with the first of four days of product demonstrations, exhibits and educational opportunities for the automotive aftermarket industry, including collision repair. 

    The industry-only Show runs through Nov. 3, followed immediately by the inaugural SEMA Fest, Nov. 3-4, which invites the public to enjoy two days of music acts and immersive experiences at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds.

    SEMA Kick-Off Breakfast

    Before the doors opened on the Show, attendees were invited to the Kick-Off Breakfast, where the New Product Award winners in 18 categories were announced, as well as the winners of the Manufacturer of the Year and the Channel Partner of the Year awards.

    Goliath-Carts-SEMA-2023-Best-New-Product-Award-collision-repair-and-refinish
    Dito Diez, owner and lead engineer of Goliath Carts, accepts the Best New Product Award in the collision repair and refinish category.

    Goliath Carts, Hunter Engineering Best New Product Winners

    Goliath Carts was the Best New Product winner in the collision repair and refinish category for its destructive test weld stand, while Hunter Engineeringwon in the Advanced Driver Assistance System category for its Ultimate ADAS.

    MSO Symposium

    The MSO Symposium, an annual one-day conference created by and for multi-shop owners and operators, was held Oct. 30, the day before the Show opened. More than 300 people attended, the most in its 12-year history. 

    Bart Mazurek, vice president of consulting services for CCC Intelligent Solutions' automotive services group, shared data indicating direct repair claims were up 3% in the third quarter of this year---good news for the MSOs that tend to focus more on DRP work. 

    "When you look at 2022 versus 2023, there are more appraisals across all channels from last year to this year, more appraisals written regardless of DRP or not, Mazurek said. "But what's really important is that the DRP market actually took a bigger piece of the pie this year because other channels shrank a little bit. So that means more work for the MSOs."

    In the afternoon, Autobody News columnist Mike Anderson of Collision Advice moderated a panel of MSO operators discussing the challenges and opportunities of growing a multi-shop operation.

    MSO-Symposium-SEMA-2023
    The MSO Symposium was held Oct. 30, the day before the SEMA Show opened.

    CIC

    The Collision Industry Conference (CIC) met Oct. 31 as part of SEMA, marking the 40th anniversary of the quarterly conference. The Data Access, Privacy and Security Committee held a panel discussion focusing on what shops should consider about end-user licensing agreements (EULAs) and what they mean in terms of the shop s and customer's data when using scan tools or third-party service providers.

    The Talent Pool and Education Committee offered an update on the Collision Engineering Program, now in place at more than a half dozen schools around the country; the two-year program trains students by rotating them every eight weeks between school and working in a shop.
     
    And Cole Strandberg of Focus Investment Banking, host of Autobody News' podcast, The Collision Vision, participated in a panel discussion about consolidation in the industry. "I don't think there has been a better time in history to be an owner in the collision repair industry," Strandberg said at the conclusion of the discussion. "I think your options are incredible. Whether you want to sell now, whether you want to grow, whether you want to specialize, you only have great options."

    Dave Kindig Reveals Custom Build

    Stay tuned to autobodynews.com or pick up your region's December issue for full coverage of all of these stories from SEMA and more.

  • 2023 SEMA Show to Feature Expanded Education Program

    SEMA-2023-Education-Program

    As part of SEMA’s initiative to create a more robust career- and professional-development program year-round, the 2023 SEMA Show will feature a fully customizable hands-on education program that focuses on leadership and skill development, networking, exploration of emerging trends, and industry best practices. Attendees will be able to use this year’s program to jump-start and create a comprehensive year-long educational program.

    "We want to support our attendees by offering a customizable learning journey for skill development and competency-based education inclusive of the Show and throughout the rest of the year," said Pamela Brown-Matthis, SEMA director of education. "Our goal is to engage showgoers by creating high-energy learning situations throughout the Show environment and creating educational opportunities that are delivered in various formats, whether they be ‘fireside chats,’ workshops, Main Stage Experiences or celebrity showcases.”

    This year’s program will feature globally recognized speakers and industry leaders sharing their expertise with attendees. Also new for this year is an EV certification program from Legacy EV that offers hands-on training to automotive techs who want an up-skill understanding of EV anatomy, powertrains and electrical theory. Attendees who complete the program will receive an EV101 certificate from Legacy EV.

    “We have been very intentional about selecting our sessions and speakers this year,” explained Brown-Matthis. “All of our speakers are subject-matter experts and industry leaders who have the knowledge and ability to inspire change, and our sessions offer content that is relevant, meaningful and valuable for all our Show participants.”

    Other SEMA Show Education Program highlights:

    • 99 sessions by subject matter experts, beginning Monday afternoon (Oct. 30) to provide wider access to education
    • Six highly focused SEMA Education tracks: Inside the Shop; Aftermarket Updates and Future Trends; Small-Business Strategy; Sales and Marketing; Vehicle Technology and Electric Vehicles; and Legal and Regulatory
    • Women in Automotive Symposium, including a Micro Learning Lab Experience consisting of four professional-development workshops, keynotes, power networking luncheon and a C-Suite Insights panel
    • Dale Carnegie Leadership Essentials program, a six-part series by executive coaches from the world-renown Dale Carnegie Program that are designed to enhance leadership skills
    • Education sessions from partners Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR), Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS)and the Tire Industry Association (TIA)

    Access to most education programs are included as a benefit to registration. For more information about the SEMA Show and this year’s Education Program, or to register, visit www.semashow.com.

    The 2023 SEMA Show, taking place Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, is the ultimate business gathering for the automotive specialty equipment industry. It is the place to discover new products and trends, make new business contacts, strengthen existing ones and help professionals take their careers from good to great.

    Source: SEMA

  • 2023 SEMA Show to Feature World's Largest Collection of New Automotive Products

    SEMA-Show-2023-new-product-showcase

    The 2023 SEMA Show New Products Showcase, the world's largest display of new automotive aftermarket products, is relocating to the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Accessible exclusively to SEMA Showgoers during the Oct. 31-Nov. 3 trade show, the New Products Showcase is the top buyer and media destination and serves as a one-stop shop to easily discover thousands of the hottest products in the industry.

    "The New Products Showcase is the most comprehensive collection of what is coming next in the automotive industry, providing attendees a virtual glimpse into the future of the market," said SEMA Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso. "It is where SEMA Show attendees can also envision how to utilize the latest products and services in their own businesses by learning details about the products, including the exhibitor's booth number, so they connect directly with the manufacturer on the Show floor. Exhibitors can maximize their ROI by participating in the New Products Showcase, which results in increased brand exposure and more visitors to their booths."

    All SEMA Show exhibitors qualify to submit one New Products Showcase entry at no cost, and they can enter additional products at a cost of $95 before Oct. 6 and $150 after. There is no limit to the number of entries a company can submit. Learn more and get involved at semashow.com/newproducts.

    All New Products Showcase entries receive the added benefit of being featured in SEMA News, listed in the SEMA Show app and possibly winning multiple Best New Product awards, which are presented in 18 categories, including electric vehicle (EV) and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), during the official SEMA Show Kickoff Breakfast on Oct. 31.

    "The New Products Showcase provides exhibitors a great opportunity to generate leads and exposure for very little cost, especially if they take advantage of early deadlines," added SEMA Trade Show Director Andy Tompkins. "Having access to thousands of products in one location makes trend-spotting easy for buyers and media. Plus, our mobile app allows attendees to 'favorite' products so they can maximize their time at the Show and use the app as a year-round resource. It is like putting the future in your pocket."

    Register for the SEMA Show

    The 2023 SEMA Show, taking place Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, is the ultimate business gathering for the automotive specialty-equipment industry. It is the place where professionals come to connect with product experts from the exhibiting companies for quality one-on-one discussions, demos and presentations.

    SEMA Show management is dedicated to making the event as cost-effective as possible for all. Registration is $60 through Sept. 29 and $120 after that date. 

    Registering early allows attendees to take advantage of the best rates and receive all the necessary information for planning their SEMA Show experience. Early registration also ensures that attendees will receive their badges in the mail before this year's event.

    Get started on your road to the 2023 SEMA Show by registering today at SEMAShow.com/register!

    To learn more or to register to attend the 2023 SEMA Show, visit semashow.com.

    Source: SEMA

  • 2023 SEMA Show to Showcase Strength of Automotive Aftermarket

    SEMA-Show-2023

    The 2023 SEMA Show is forecasted to return to historic levels when it comes to the Las Vegas Convention Center Oct. 31–Nov. 3.

    Now in its 56th year, the Show is where the automotive aftermarket industry gathers to discover new products, identify future trends and make valuable connections that empower the growth of one of the most innovative industries in the country and around the world.

    “The SEMA Show is a must-attend event for anyone who wants to set the pace in the automotive aftermarket,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “The scope of exhibitors, new product launches, high-quality programs and opportunities at this year’s Show will have attendees well-positioned for success in the coming year.”

    The growth of the Show underscores the impact the automotive aftermarket has on the American economy. SEMA recently released its first-ever economic impact report, and the data showed the industry contributes $337 billion to the U.S. economy and creates 1.3 million jobs nationwide. Automotive aftermarket companies also pay more than $24 billion in federal taxes and $16 billion in state and local taxes, and their employees earn more than $104 billion in wages and benefits. 

    The impact of the Show also reverberates around the globe, with attendees expected from more than 140 countries and regions.

    Show organizers have curated multiple opportunities for exhibitors, buyers and media to see what’s coming next in the automotive aftermarket:

    Spotting Future Product Trends

    The discovery of new products remains the heart of the SEMA Show. More than 2,200 exhibitors will be in attendance---23% are first-time exhibitors---giving buyers and media the first look at new innovative products. Highlights include:

    • The New Product Showcase: one of the focal points of the Show, the Showcase features hundreds of new products and industry innovations and connects buyers directly with exhibitors via the SEMA Show app.
    • FutureTech Studio: This new, immersive experience will highlight “what’s next” through live education, product displays and sponsor vehicles demonstrating technologies advancing and redefining the performance aftermarket.

    Powering Development Through Education

    The Show will offer nearly 100 education programs covering a wide breadth of topics and subjects, ranging from women in the industry to digital marketing and more, designed to help businesses and careers expand and grow. Highlights include:

    • The Main Stage Experience Featuring Tim Tebow: athlete, entrepreneur and philanthropist will be sharing his "Mission-Possible" life message.
    • Fireside Chat with Willy T. Ribbs: the American racing champion will join Beth Paretta on the SEMA Show Main Stage to share his story as a pioneer in motorsports.
    • The Future of Automotive Fuel Technology hosted by Margaret Hoover: engage with a panel of global industry leaders, subject-matter experts and thought leaders as they discuss decarbonization through alternative fuel technologies.

    Experiencing Innovation

    The SEMA Show’s experiences spotlight future trends as demonstrated by exhibitors and builders. Highlights include:

    • Battle of the Builders, Presented by Mothers: a unique program that helps attendees spot trends and see the latest techniques of some of the industry’s most influential builders.
    • Shell“Performance Unbound” Experience: the interactive Shell V-Power NiTRO+ booth will feature Shell scientists sharing details about the fuel maker's new and improved premium gasoline.
    • Networking Events: hosted by Jarod DeAnda, the kick-off breakfast and awards banquet bring industry professionals together for networking and provide the backdrop for new product award winners, and other honors including the Robert E. Peterson Lifetime Achievement, Manufacturer of the Year, Channel Partner of the Year, SEMA Person of the Year, SEMA Gen-III Innovator of the Year and SEMA Content Creator of the Year awards.

    To learn more about the 2023 SEMA Show taking place Oct. 31–Nov. 3, in Las Vegas, NV, visit www.semashow.com.

  • 3M™ RepairStack™ Performance Solutions & Additional 3M Products Introduced to Optimize Shop Efficiency and Performance

    man-in-3M-booth

    From teardown to refinishing, 3Mhas touchpoints across the collision repair process. During the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV, the company took attendees on a journey through its products and solutions, created to help enable a profitable body shop of the future.

    Part of this journey included the launch of 3M™ RepairStack™ Performance Solutions in the U.S. following 18 months of beta testing. The new connected platform was created to assist shop owners and collision repair general managers with information relating to shop performance, invoicing and material usage.

    “Combining hardware and software to optimize shop efficiency and performance for shop owners and collision repair general managers, 3M™ RepairStack™ Performance Solutions is 3M’s digital backbone for the automotive aftermarket,” according to a 3M press release.

    Many collision repair shops are facing challenges, including a reduction in gross profits due to labor shortages, increased complexity of repairs, decreasing parts discounts and increased replacement work. As a result, 3M explained, shop owners must grapple with a lack of visibility and a clear understanding of shop performance while experiencing increasingly tight margins in a complex repair environment.

    By introducing 3M™ RepairStack™ Performance Solutions, 3M said it is pioneering an era of connected body shops to help businesses unlock opportunities for profit, efficiency and growth.

    “Operational efficiency inside a shop is critical for long-term business and customer success,” said Dave Gunderson, president, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “That operational efficiency is what we’re striving to simplify with 3M™ RepairStack™ Performance Solutions. In an increasingly digital landscape, this customized, connected solution provides the fast clarity and transparency needed to drive optimal value from materials and labor.”

    3M™ RepairStack™ Performance Solutions features hardware that houses all 3M allied materials. As an integrated and automated platform, 3M shared its three key benefits: an inventory management system ensuring materials needed for safe and reliable repairs are always available, a streamlined blueprinting and billing process, and real-time insight into business performance.

    The software tracks material usage by technician, shop, repair order and more, while enabling automated re-ordering of products based on inventory stock levels and direct connection to preferred distributors. 3M explained shop owners can easily manage their materials by maintaining a consistent inventory while at the same time reducing waste and emergency orders.

    “Better managed inventories empower technician training and increased technician performance and satisfaction, allowing hands-on work to remain with the vehicles,” according to a 3M press release.

    “Since the beginning of this project, it has been fun working hand-in-hand with the customer to build this tool,” said 3M Automotive Aftermarket Specialist Ryan Fuller during the SEMA Show. “The feedback we’ve received is overwhelming, including runner up in the SEMA Best New Product Awards for collision repair and refinish product.”

    He noted participating shops have shared the software is helping them keep a good hold on their materials, reducing the on-hand quantity and ensuring they always have the products needed to keep production going.

    3M™ Perfect-It™ Random Orbital Polishing System

    man-in-3M-booth
    Rafael Ledesma-Riveral, 3M senior application expert-regional and country AAD, said the 3M™ Perfect-It™ Random Orbital Polishing System can help eliminate swirl marks and other defects common with traditional rotary tools.

    3M announced it is launching a new paint refinishing system in early 2023, the 3M™ Perfect-It™ Random Orbital Polishing System, which won a SEMA Global Media Award at this year’s show. 3M said the goal of any paint finishing process is to restore panels to their proper state---free of defects with a high-quality finish. The professional grade set of tools, pads and polishes from 3M was created to help technicians achieve sleek, consistent results.

    Typically associated with detailing, but redesigned for the collision repair industry, 3M™ Perfect-It™ Random Orbital Polishing System can help eliminate swirl marks and other defects common with traditional rotary tools.

    “It’s very easy to use… and is safe for a body shop,” said Rafael Ledesma-Rivera, 3M senior application expert-regional and country AAD, during the SEMA Show. “Everything stays cleaner and swirl marks are a thing of the past.”

    “Every technician wants their final finish to look as if the car had never been touched,” said Jenny Thill, global marketing manager at 3M. “The polishing tool is easy to use along with our liquids and pads that make up the complete system.”

    3M™ Performance Spray Gun

    As paint prices increase and body shops experience continued cost pressure, 3M said material savings are key to successful business operations. Introduced in 2021, the lightweight 3M™ Performance Spray Gun allows painters to mix less paint and receive the same or better coverage. 3M said the spray gun’s transfer efficiency offers up to 26% less material waste than leading metal spray guns.

    3M engineers spent more than 10 years designing and developing the product to ensure it would deliver superior performance in paint application and process improvements. It was created to deliver top-of-the-line performance with revolutionary technology for faster cleanup, changeovers and cycle times.

    “The first thing that anyone notices is how lightweight it is,” said Brady Haislet, a 3M application engineer who was a product developer for the gun. “Having a lightweight spray gun is the key to usability, ease of maintenance, clean up and cycle time; with replaceable itemizing heads, it delivers on productivity.”

    man-in-3M-booth
    Brady Haislet, a 3M application engineer, said the lightweight 3M™ Performance Spray Gun’s transfer efficiency offers up to 26% less material waste than leading metal spray guns.

    Before it launched, the 3M™ Performance Spray Gun was tested for transfer efficiency compared to other leading HVLP traditional metal spray guns at the Fraunhofer Institute of Technology, a third-party research organization. The 3M™ Performance Spray Gun was measured to have the highest transfer efficiency of 78% versus any other leading HVLP traditional metal spray gun in the market, according to a company press release. Since then, 3M said customers reported this transfer efficiency presented paint material cost savings with less paint needed to produce the same or better results.

    “Paint is nearly as expensive as the painter, and shop owners can’t afford to waste either one,” said Corey Munn, global paint applications segment director, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “We’ve worked with leading shops, paint companies and painters around the world to develop a solution that achieves comparable or better results with less material.”

    3M Cubitron II net abrasives

    The 3M booth also showcased 3M Cubitron II net abrasives, introduced in 2021. The net abrasives use 3M’s patented precision-shaped grain material, which the company said allows the solution to cut twice as fast and last twice as long as other net abrasives families. In addition, it has been shown to capture more than 97% of the dust created when sanding in a shop.

    “In the United States, we’re really starting to see a shift in people wanting a cleaner environment,” said David Woods, 3M global business development manager for commercial vehicle and marine, during SEMA. “With the technician shortage, it’s hard to keep good employees, and if you are putting them in a dirty environment, they typically find somewhere cleaner to go.”

    For more information, visit www.3m.com/3M/en_US/collision-repair-us.

  • AirPro Diagnostics Releases Updated Self-Guided Version of Auggie DTS at SEMA 2022

    two-men-with-car

    After launching Auggie at last year’s SEMA Show, AirPro Diagnosticsintroduced an updated version of their ADAS calibration tool at SEMA 2022, the Self-Guided Auggie DTS (Digital Target System).

    The Auggie is a patented, fully autonomous wireless digital targeting tool that uses machine vision to present static Forward-Facing Camera (FFC) targets for customers to perform calibrations according to OEM specifications.

    “The Self-Guided Auggie DTS takes the place of having to do all of the setup with physical targets,” explained Lonnie Margol, CEO of AirPro Diagnostics. “The new release is basically the same device, but users can now control Auggie on their own and use any ADAS calibration capable scan tool.”

    The previous version of the device required shops to use an AirPro Diagnostics scan tool and remote technicians. The updated version allows the device to be operated by the user and will work with any ADAS-capable scan tool and a free smartphone interface. All setup specifications and instructions are displayed on the Auggie, allowing users complete control of their static FFC calibrations.

    “The calibration game has now changed,” said Josh McFarlin, executive vice president of AirPro Diagnostics. “We listened to our customers and now they can use their own scan tool, fully independent of AirPro, to perform FFC calibrations.”

    With ADAS FFC calibrations becoming increasingly more complex over the last decade, McFarlin said the Auggie can save technicians time, increase efficiency in the shop and help perform a safe repair.

    “It takes all of the environmental conditions out of the equation,” he said. “Shops don’t need a 30-by-60[-foot] footprint, controlled lighting and other complex requirements.”

    Margol said the Auggie also enables body shops to keep calibrations in-house rather than having to sublet the work.

    “The worst thing is to send a vehicle out and then you’ve lost control of the process,” he noted.

    “It’s remarkable to me how many collision repair shops aren’t doing calibrations when the OEMs now require them after any structural repairs,” said McFarlin. "They are either sending it to a dealer, or worse, they aren’t doing it.”

    By not doing a calibration in-house, McFarlin said shops are losing control of their cycle time and the associated revenue.

    “It helps reduce cycle time incredibly because the whole process takes less than eight minutes,” said Margol.

    The company provides step-by-step directions to operate the Auggie and a help button connects to AirPro brand specialists for immediate support.

    About four years ago, AirPro envisioned developing a solution for static calibrations.

    “The manual method seemed so archaic,” said Margol. “Not a shop in the world is built with a level floor and has non-reflective paint on it.”

    As a result, they set out to look for a better solution. A calibration bay was built at one of their customer’s collision repair shops and the team began experimenting with how to best digitize the targets.

    When the Auggie was invented, the main goal was to ensure it was mobile so calibrations could be performed virtually anywhere. Margol said this was especially helpful for the glass industry to be able to calibrate vehicles in the field.

    Since then, the tool has evolved to meet the needs of the industry. There have been multiple updates and two impactful releases of the software. “It’s such a thrill that this project has really come to life,” said Margol.

    “A lot of shops already have a solution for a diagnostic tool and weren’t looking to make a change,” said McFarlin. “The Auggie is now an option for them.”

    For more information, visit airprodiagnostics.com.

  • AkzoNobel Showcases Celebrity Vehicles, Digital Tools at 2023 SEMA Show

    AkzoNobel-SEMA-2023-Dave-Kindig-Kevin-Hart

    AkzoNobel's expanded presence at this year's show included several cars designed by Dave Kindig, including one he created for comedian Kevin Hart.

    AkzoNobelkicked off the first day of the 2023 SEMA Show with Dave Kindig, the company’s spokesperson, unveiling a celebrity vehicle.

    Kindig, owner of Kindig-it Design and star of MotorTrend’s “Bitchin’ Rides” series, was challenged to build a vehicle for the comedian and actor Kevin Hart that represented the Batman villain Bane. He unveiled the creation, also named “Bane,” Oct. 31 at one of AkzoNobel’s two booths---a DodgeChallenger painted with Modern Classikk color Black Ice, described by Kindig as “the deepest darkest black you can get.”

    Kindig said the build, which has a chili red interior designed by JS Custom Interior, includes a lot of “really cool technology.” Several components were 3D-printed, including the dash center console, components of the door panels and rear quarter panels, as well as the supercharger’s cover.

    “Our relationship with Dave Kindig continues to expand and provide a lot of excitement for us,” said Jen Poliski, marketing communications manager-North America, AkzoNobel Automotive & Specialty Coatings. “SEMA provides the best opportunity for us to showcase how he uses our paints to help create his masterpieces.”

    In 2018, AkzoNobel launched Modern Classikk, a custom color line of automotive paints designed in partnership with Kindig. The Modern Classikk line now includes more than 40 base coat colors and four reducers.

    “One of the things that people don't realize is these are all colors that Dave Kindig formulated,” noted Sue Jaszkowski, marketing communications-North America, AkzoNobel Automotive & Specialty Coatings.

    In addition to being the spokesperson for Modern Classikk, earlier this year, AkzoNobel announced Kindig as its brand ambassador for Sikkens, its premium paint line.

    AkzoNobel has also restyled the Modern Classikk label.

    “We were five years into the partnership and wanted to give the label a facelift,” explained Jaszkowski. “The redesign was a collaborative effort.”

    The new label now reads, “Modern Classikk, powered by Sikkens,” and was inspired by Kindig’s hand-drawn and colored renderings created for each Kindig-it Design vehicle build.

    AkzoNobel Booth Highlights

    During SEMA, AkzoNobel and Kindig-it Design shared 2,400 square feet of exhibit space in the Silver Lot outside, displaying several one-of-a-kind vehicles. These included the Bitchin’ Bronco featured on recent episodes of “Bitchin’ Rides” and two of Kindig’s carbon fiber CF Roadsters. One was painted with a new color the company plans to launch in 2024 and the other with Modern Classikk Sageless.

    In addition to the outdoor space, AkzoNobel set up a larger indoor exhibit in Central Hall this year to showcase Sikkens and hold demonstrations of Carbeat, the company’s digital body shop workflow control solution. The booth featured Kevin Hart’s “Bane” vehicle, as well as a custom-designed roadster. The cars were nominated for an award for Best on RS 2023.

    Throughout the event, Kindig signed autographs in both booths.

    AkzoNobel-SEMA-2023
    AkzoNobel team members with Dave Kindig, second from left in front, and Kevin Schiele, right, from Bitchin’ Rides.

    AkzoNobel paint was featured on several additional SEMA vehicles, including a 1951 Chevy3100 Pickup by Miller & Son Collision, painted with Lesonal; a 1986 FordMustang GT by Andrew Schenk, painted with Sikkens; a 1963 VWDouble Cab, painted with Sikkens Autowave; a 1967 Ford Shelby Cobra by the Austin Hatcher Foundation, painted with Modern Classikk “No Strings White;” and a 1977 JeepJ10 Extended Cab---only one of its kind---by Mike Smith, painted with Wanda.

    Industry Insight Shared

    AkzoNobel employees and customers had an opportunity to share insight during various presentations throughout the week. Tony Adams, AkzoNobel business services consultant, discussed improving employee retention and engagement through communications during his presentation, “Freedom to Speak?” Adams also teamed up with Tim Ronak, senior services consultant, and customers Stephen Bozerfrom Fix Auto Tempe and Kena Dacus, owner of Dacus Auto, to discuss “Changing the World With a Four-Day Work Week?”

    In addition, some AkzoNobel customers took part in educational sessions. Andrew Batenhorst, body shop manager at Pacific BMW, talked about the death of the estimator role. Both Michael Giarrizzo, CEO of DCR Systems and Calibration Connection, and Andy Tylka, owner of TAG Auto Group and Midwest ADAS, participated in a SEMA panel discussion about ADAS calibration strategies.

    “The SEMA Show is the largest event we do, and we were excited to be contributing in many ways again this year,” said Poliski.

  • ALLDATA’s ADAS Quick Reference Tool Receives SEMA New Product Award in ADAS Category

    man-with-trophy

    Founded in 1986, ALLDATAis known for providing OEM automotive repair and collision information. The company said more than 400,000 technicians use ALLDATA’s software solutions for faster diagnostics, updated OEM information covering 95% of vehicles on the road, and simpler shop management.

    At the November SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV, ALLDATA received a 2022 SEMA New Product Award in the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) category for its new ADAS Quick Reference tool. The annual awards program recognizes cutting-edge new products introduced to the automotive specialty-equipment market.

    The company previously received a PTENInnovation Award this year.

    During the show, ALLDATA representatives shared information about the company’s latest enhancements and provided live demonstrations of its OEM repair information products, diagnostic tools and shop management software, including ADAS Quick Reference, ALLDATA Inspections and its new partnership with NexpartMulti-Seller.

    “We’re always looking for ways to help shops boost productivity and streamline the workflow process,” said Satwinder Mangat, president of ALLDATA.

    Autobody News had the opportunity to talk to Mangat about the award and the company’s new products.

    What was your reaction to receiving the SEMA New Product Award?

    We were thrilled! ADAS was a huge topic at SEMA, and we were honored to be recognized for this latest update to ALLDATA Repair® and ALLDATA Collision®, which makes it easy for customers to find ADAS repair information in one place.

    large-group-of-people
    ALLDATA team members at the 2022 SEMA Show included, left to right, Christopher Mochan, Ric Martinez, Robert Gomez, Pat Castillo, Daniel Dimapasoc, Bryan Goux, Ryan Deugaw, Diane Flood, Crystal Brahm and Terry Louizos.

    What are some features of the product that will benefit collision repair shops?

    ALLDATA’s ADAS Quick Reference provides one-click access to vehicle-specific ADAS information direct from the OEMs.

    Shops can easily filter by system, component or location. The ADAS Quick Reference tool links directly to the ADAS system or component by name, such as Backup Camera or Lane Departure System. It also provides the location of the component, identifies removal/replacement requirements that could result in extra labor for calibration or sublet costs, and displays basic calibration information, required tools and prerequisites for servicing ADAS components.

    Having all the ADAS information in one place helps shops save time and prepare more accurate estimates and detailed blueprints based on OEM requirements and procedures.

    What did you showcase during the SEMA Show?

    It was great to be back in full force for the first time since 2019. There was a ton of buzz about ADAS this year. That was certainly the case at the ALLDATA booth, where attendees lined up for demos of the new award-winning ADAS Quick Reference tool.

    We were also excited to showcase our new partnership with Nexpart Multi-Seller. The tool makes it easy to add parts from leading vendors to an estimate, check local product availability in real-time, and quickly order from preferred suppliers. ALLDATA Shop Manager now includes Nexpart Multi-Seller parts ordering, providing 24/7 access to leading suppliers in one place, including the AutoZonecatalog.

    In addition, show attendees could see how ALLDATA Inspections, another new tool, enables shops to jumpstart the customer check-in process curbside and perform digital vehicle inspections (DVIs).

    How will ALLDATA Inspections help collision repairers?

    ALLDATA Inspections makes it easy to greet customers at the vehicle, look up or add a new customer, check off a digital inspection sheet, and email it to the customer---all in minutes.

    The tool works with ALLDATA Repair®, ALLDATA Collision® and ALLDATA Shop Manager, so that the entire service team can share customer and vehicle documentation for estimates, repair orders and invoices in real-time.

    ALLDATA Inspections gives shops flexibility to check in customers at their vehicles, identify services that are required or due soon, and deliver trustworthy advice on the spot for a better overall shop experience.

    Is there anything you would like to share about ALLDATA’s future focus?

    We’re excited about ALLDATA Find-A-Fix, a new information source that provides top-ranked diagnostic solutions for a specific vehicle and Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) based on data-driven analysis for trusted repairs. It’s currently included at no additional cost for a limited time with ALLDATA Repair® and ALLDATA Collision®.

    Another product on the horizon is ALLDATA Repair Forecaster. It generates a list of known failures for the next 12 months or 10,000 miles based on year/make/model/engine (YMME), location and odometer reading. This allows customers to use information from ALLDATA to share predicted repairs with customers.

    For more information, visit www.alldata.com/en.

  • ALLDATA’s ADAS Quick Reference Tool Receives SEMA New Product Award in ADAS Category

    man-with-trophy

    Founded in 1986, ALLDATAis known for providing OEM automotive repair and collision information. The company said more than 400,000 technicians use ALLDATA’s software solutions for faster diagnostics, updated OEM information covering 95% of vehicles on the road, and simpler shop management.

    At the November SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV, ALLDATA received a 2022 SEMA New Product Award in the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) category for its new ADAS Quick Reference tool. The annual awards program recognizes cutting-edge new products introduced to the automotive specialty-equipment market.

    The company previously received a PTENInnovation Award this year.

    During the show, ALLDATA representatives shared information about the company’s latest enhancements and provided live demonstrations of its OEM repair information products, diagnostic tools and shop management software, including ADAS Quick Reference, ALLDATA Inspections and its new partnership with NexpartMulti-Seller.

    “We’re always looking for ways to help shops boost productivity and streamline the workflow process,” said Satwinder Mangat, president of ALLDATA.

    Autobody News had the opportunity to talk to Mangat about the award and the company’s new products.

    What was your reaction to receiving the SEMA New Product Award?

    We were thrilled! ADAS was a huge topic at SEMA, and we were honored to be recognized for this latest update to ALLDATA Repair® and ALLDATA Collision®, which makes it easy for customers to find ADAS repair information in one place.

    large-group-of-people
    ALLDATA team members at the 2022 SEMA Show included, left to right, Christopher Mochan, Ric Martinez, Robert Gomez, Pat Castillo, Daniel Dimapasoc, Bryan Goux, Ryan Deugaw, Diane Flood, Crystal Brahm and Terry Louizos.

    What are some features of the product that will benefit collision repair shops?

    ALLDATA’s ADAS Quick Reference provides one-click access to vehicle-specific ADAS information direct from the OEMs.

    Shops can easily filter by system, component or location. The ADAS Quick Reference tool links directly to the ADAS system or component by name, such as Backup Camera or Lane Departure System. It also provides the location of the component, identifies removal/replacement requirements that could result in extra labor for calibration or sublet costs, and displays basic calibration information, required tools and prerequisites for servicing ADAS components.

    Having all the ADAS information in one place helps shops save time and prepare more accurate estimates and detailed blueprints based on OEM requirements and procedures.

    What did you showcase during the SEMA Show?

    It was great to be back in full force for the first time since 2019. There was a ton of buzz about ADAS this year. That was certainly the case at the ALLDATA booth, where attendees lined up for demos of the new award-winning ADAS Quick Reference tool.

    We were also excited to showcase our new partnership with Nexpart Multi-Seller. The tool makes it easy to add parts from leading vendors to an estimate, check local product availability in real-time, and quickly order from preferred suppliers. ALLDATA Shop Manager now includes Nexpart Multi-Seller parts ordering, providing 24/7 access to leading suppliers in one place, including the AutoZonecatalog.

    In addition, show attendees could see how ALLDATA Inspections, another new tool, enables shops to jumpstart the customer check-in process curbside and perform digital vehicle inspections (DVIs).

    How will ALLDATA Inspections help collision repairers?

    ALLDATA Inspections makes it easy to greet customers at the vehicle, look up or add a new customer, check off a digital inspection sheet, and email it to the customer---all in minutes.

    The tool works with ALLDATA Repair®, ALLDATA Collision® and ALLDATA Shop Manager, so that the entire service team can share customer and vehicle documentation for estimates, repair orders and invoices in real-time.

    ALLDATA Inspections gives shops flexibility to check in customers at their vehicles, identify services that are required or due soon, and deliver trustworthy advice on the spot for a better overall shop experience.

    Is there anything you would like to share about ALLDATA’s future focus?

    We’re excited about ALLDATA Find-A-Fix, a new information source that provides top-ranked diagnostic solutions for a specific vehicle and Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) based on data-driven analysis for trusted repairs. It’s currently included at no additional cost for a limited time with ALLDATA Repair® and ALLDATA Collision®.

    Another product on the horizon is ALLDATA Repair Forecaster. It generates a list of known failures for the next 12 months or 10,000 miles based on year/make/model/engine (YMME), location and odometer reading. This allows customers to use information from ALLDATA to share predicted repairs with customers.

    For more information, visit www.alldata.com/en.

  • Are Some Major Players Getting Cold Feet About SEMA?

    With a rise in COVID-19 cases in Clark County and the State of Nevada’s indoor facemask mandate again in full force, there are understandably some concerns among collision repair-related companies about whether or not to participate in the 2021 SEMA Show.

    The situation has changed dramatically within the last two months, and when you throw in the fact many attendees from Canada and Europe will be prohibited from entering the U.S. for the show, it’s not surprising both exhibitors and attendees are looking for the exit doors or contemplating alternatives. On Aug. 31, Spanesi SpA and Spanesi Americas, Inc. decided to remove their exhibit from the Show, scheduled for Nov. 2-5, in Las Vegas, NV. Their name can now be added to a list that already included Sherwin-Williams and PPG, two companies who chose not to sign up for this year’s show.

    Other companies are searching for a compromise, so they can still participate, but on a smaller level. One of these companies is Dan-Am Company, exclusive distributor of SATA in the U.S.

    SATA’s Director of Sales & Marketing Tony Larimer knows the value of SEMA to the industry, but also wants to take a sensible approach to our “new normal” way of life. Usually, SATA has a large exhibit at the show, but it is presently considering a smaller booth and a skeleton crew to send to Las Vegas in November.

    “We usually send 60 to 70 people to SEMA, but with all of the factors in play this year, we are looking at possibly getting a considerably smaller booth,” Larimer said. “The most important thing is everyone’s safety, of course, but we also have to look at it financially as well. We invest a ton of money and resources into this show every year, so we have to think about the return on investment, especially if a lot of people won’t or can’t attend SEMA this year.”

    Larimer and his team haven’t made a decision yet and are currently in negotiations with SEMA representatives, he said.

    “SEMA is a huge part of this industry, so if we can still exhibit on a smaller scale, we see the value in it. Right now, we have a lot of questions and SEMA is working hard to accommodate us, so we will keep everyone informed as soon as we know the details.”

    Spanesi Americas COO Tim Morgan said opting out of SEMA wasn’t an easy decision.

    "Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of Spanesi's customers, distributors, business partners and staff, we have made the difficult decision not to participate in the 2021 SEMA Show," he said. “The SEMA Show is the cornerstone of our marketing activities. We always enjoy greeting our current and new customers every year in our booth.”

    Unfortunately, given the current environment, Morgan’s decision to withdraw was inevitable, he said.

    "We wish the entire automotive industry health and safety as we all continue to adapt our business operations. Spanesi has been a fixture at the SEMA Show since 2012, and we look forward to seeing everyone again in 2022 with a whole new booth and new equipment offerings.”

    SEMA Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso firmly believes this year’s show will happen in early November.

    "The landscape with the COVID pandemic is changing frequently,” he said. “Those changes, coupled with uncertainty with international travel, has caused some companies to have to make the decision to not attend the SEMA Show this year.

    "We’re excited that we have five halls full of exhibitors confirmed, and tens of thousands of buyers already signed up to attend the upcoming SEMA Show. There is pent-up demand for an in-person event this year, and we are committed to providing the industry with the best Show yet," Gattuso continued. "In-person connections are important and valuable and something that cannot be replaced, and this year’s SEMA Show will offer unlimited business opportunities, new programs and features, and networking events that will set up businesses and attendees for future success."

  • Autel, CREF Donate ADAS Calibration Equipment to Collision School Programs

    Autel-CREF-ADAS-calibration-system-donation

    Eight schools will receive an Autel IA800 Lane Departure Warning (LDW) ADAS Calibration Package.

    Autel has partnered with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) to donate an Autel Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) Calibration Package to eight standout U.S. collision repair school programs, the company announced in a news release.

    The Autel IA800 Lane Departure Warning (LDW) ADAS Calibration Package includes an IA800 ADAS Optical Positioning Frame System, LDW targets and patterns for 20 vehicle brands, a MaxiSYS 909 tablet with ADAS calibration software, a VCI/J2534 pass-thru programming device, and a full-color, 244-page Autel Academy ADAS training manual.

    CREF is the collision industry's national charity that works to support high school and post-secondary collision programs, students and instructors nationwide. This includes roughly 1,000 collision high school and technical/community college programs that educate roughly 30,000 collision students each year. Schools were eligible to receive the Autel equipment donations by applying for CREF's annual Benchmark grant program, the recipients of which will be announced during the 2023 SEMA Show, Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Las Vegas.

    "On behalf of the collision school programs that CREF works to support, I would like to thank and recognize Autel for this incredible ADAS equipment donation," said CREF Executive Director Brandon Eckenrode. "As instructors face challenging program budgets, it's through our industry partners that we are able to help invest in their programs and ensure that these schools have up-to-date equipment and technology for their students' technical education. We look forward to this collaboration with Autel and connecting them with collision instructors so that students are better trained and prepared for employment within the industry." 

    The donation is the collaboration's first prong in its just-launched, three-prong campaign to enable automotive vocational schools, colleges and universities to develop curriculums using software and equipment that offers comprehensive ADAS vehicle and safety system coverage based on OE specifications. 

    CREF will gift an additional Autel-donated IA800 LDW Calibration Package at a CREF webinar titled "The Importance of Adding ADAS To Your Curriculum," 11 a.m. to noon ET Nov. 15. Register here to attend the webinar.

    As the third prong in the campaign, Autel is offering the package at a significantly reduced rate to automotive vocational schools. Interested schools can visit here for package details and purchasing options.

    "Autel is proud to partner with CREF, an organization dedicated to ensuring that the schools it represents have the best tools, equipment and supplies the industry offers, giving students the skills they need to face the challenges of servicing today's sophisticated vehicles," said Autel CEO Chloe Hung. "It is estimated that by 2043, 95% of all registered vehicles in the U.S. will be equipped with most ADAS including rear parking sensors, rearview camera, LDW and Blind Spot Warning. The importance of correctly calibrating these systems cannot be overstated; it's truly a matter of life and death. Our tools are designed for the skilled technician dedicated to providing exceptional diagnostic and repair services to their customers. And we are grateful to CREF for allowing Autel through our tools to be part of the learning process for these future technicians."

  • Award-Winning Female I-CAR Instructor Teaches How to Manage Quality Vehicle Repairs at SEMA

    woman-with-welding-mask

    Jaime Shewbridge, an instructor for the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR), recently shared her industry knowledge at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV. 

    Over three days, she taught technicians how to best manage quality vehicle repairs as part of the I-CAR credited course, “Coordinate the Repair Process.” 

    Shewbridge is the first woman to have received three of I-CAR’s highest honors, including the Founder’s Ring Award in 2003, the Lon Baudoux Instructor of the Year Award in 2020 for the Northwest Region and the Johnny Dickerson Welding Award the following year. 

    “My fiancé, Patrick, and I share a blended family of eight daughters,” said Shewbridge. “To be able to tell them that I am the first female to win these awards was one of my proudest moments.”

    Growing up in Maryland, Shewbridge always planned to work in the computer science field. Instead, she was hired to assist at a collision repair shop office while in high school and found she really enjoyed it. Over the next five years, she was promoted to customer service representative (CSR), parts person, assistant body shop manager and then general manager.

    woman-welding
    Jaime Shewbridge teaches welding and hands-on skills development in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware.

    “It was amazing to me how the techs could take something that was destroyed and put it back together,” said Shewbridge. “Even at 46, I am still amazed at the unbelievable talent body techs and painters have.”

    While working at the shop, Shewbridge realized there was a lot of information she didn’t know. 

    “I learned quickly that I better understand what I am looking at when I go into a shop, especially being female,” she recalled. “In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, there were not as many females in our industry.” 

    In 1998, she was recruited by an insurance company and worked as an appraiser, inspector, supervisor and team manager over the next 24 years. Meanwhile, she attended every training class she could. 

    She became an I-CAR instructor in 1999 and, after a break, returned in 2013. The following year, she was named I-CAR Maryland state chairman. Currently, Shewbridge teaches welding and hands-on skills development in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware.

    “The best part of being an instructor for me is seeing that the student noticed something different or learned something new,” said Shewbridge. “Helping technicians elevate the quality of repairs allows them to provide for their families and create a safer repair. Even if just one person survives a subsequent loss, it makes it all worth it.”

    In addition to her role at I-CAR, Shewbridge is a post-secondary adjunct faculty instructor for Prince George's Community College's collision repair program in Maryland. She also serves as an equipment trainer for Capital Collision Equipment, a Chief distributor based out of that same state.

    Early on, Shewbridge said she realized the importance of continuous learning. “It's easy to think you have an adequate knowledge base and become satisfied,” said Shewbridge. “I learned that if I was comfortable, I wasn't learning." 

    woman-teaching-class-at-SEMA
    Over three days at SEMA, Jaime Shewbridge taught technicians how to best manage quality vehicle repairs 

    She attributes her success to having a very supportive family, as well as those she has met and encouraged her to keep learning and being uncomfortable. 

    “I am grateful to this industry, which has provided for my family and me for over 30 years now,” she said. “So many people have taken time to encourage me, challenge me, teach me, and in the beginning, take a chance that a young female could make it in this industry. This industry needs people, and if you want to be successful in any area of this industry, you can. Just stay uncomfortable.”

    As a proponent for a skilled workforce, Shewbridge has been the SkillsUSA Baltimore regional chairperson for collision repair and automotive refinishing since 2014 and the Maryland SkillsUSAchairperson for collision repair since 2015. 

    Her daughter, Caite, is a two-time gold award recipient for Maryland in automotive refinishing and estimating and assists with the competition. 

    “Without industry involvement, the competition can't work,” she noted. “Our state collision repair, automotive refinishing, and estimating competitions are completely self-funded.” 

    In addition to the core base of people who support SkillsUSA each year, Shewbridge is looking for additional donors to supply paint, tools, measuring systems, pulse welders, computer estimating systems and vehicles. 

    She is also demonstrating her support of vocational school training by working with the Maryland Department of Education chair this year to coordinate an in-service day for collision repair instructors. 

    The event allows educators to meet area recruiters for MSOs and local shop owners. It also helps increase the number of contacts they can reach out to when it is time to place their students. 

    “We hope to bring in new technology and equipment, as well as what training is out there they can use in their daily classes.”

    Shewbridge encourages the industry to find ways to get involved and help it grow.

    “We have schools that need equipment, materials, vehicles to work on, industry people to help with mock interviews or just come in to talk to students and give new perspectives on the industry and explain what a great living working in this industry can provide,” she said. “It will take all of us to help train and keep the next generation of technicians---the future of our industry.”

    With the great need for technicians, Shewbridge said most people don’t consider women when they think of the collision repair process. 

    “We need to change that,” she said. “If we truly want to bring new people into this industry, we need to start calling elementary and middle schools and asking them to participate in career days.”

    She recommends shops get the word out early and often that the automotive industry is a great career. 

    “We need to encourage them earlier to look at a skilled trade as a viable career path where they can thrive and create a life they are proud of,” she added.

  • Axalta Introduces World’s First Digital Paint-Mixing System to U.S.

    Axalta-Irus-Mix-digital-automated-paint-mixing-system-SEMA-2023

    The Axalta Irus Mix automates the paint-mixing process, saving body shops money in time, labor and materials.

    Axalta Coating Systems announced its latest innovation, the Axalta Irus Mix, the first and only fully automated paint-mixing machine. This new technology completes the simple three-step Axalta Irus color management process of Scan, Match and now, Mix.

    Axalta demonstrated the new machine at an event it hosted Oct. 30 at Celebrity Cars in Las Vegas, NV, showing how a painter can use the complete Irus system to scan a vehicle panel and have the right amount of matching paint ready to go in less than five minutes.

    Initially launched in Europe earlier this year, the Irus Mix will be available in North America around the middle of 2024. Developed through a partnership with SANTINT, the Irus Mix works with Axalta’s premium base coat products, including Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC, Cromax Pro and Standox Standoblue.

    Company executives touted the efficiency, labor optimization, waste reduction and sustainability benefits of the entire Irus system, including the Irus Mix, which translates a digital scan of a vehicle’s paint into a formula and then measures and mixes it---delivering a precise match with minimal material waste, all while freeing up a collision repair shop’s painter to complete more important duties that make money.

    James Muse, vice president of sales for Axalta’s global refinish division, said the company “innovates with a purpose.” In this case, the purpose is to solve multiple issues in a body shop’s paint department, eliminating bottlenecks in production.

    Dan Benton, Axalta’s color marketing manager, used a tablet equipped with Axalta Irus Scan to take a picture of the paint on a 2021 ToyotaTacoma painted in Lunar Rock, a five-component shade that blends light green and silver.

    The photo was uploaded to Axalta Irus Match, software that digitally chooses the right shade from 4 million active color variants stored in the cloud.

    “We are moving away from chips and the subjectivity of color,” Muse said.

    Irus Match then sends the color to Irus Mix, which resembles a large vending machine, full of components in plastic bottles. The bottles, made of 50% recycled plastic, range from 100 mL to 1.5 L, depending on how often the components are used, reducing the amount of infrequently used and often expensive material a shop must keep in inventory.

    Irus Mix displays the “recipe” for the color, then pulls each component separately, pours the correct amount using precise dosing lids, agitates it and adds it to a mixing cup. The machine also tracks how much material is in each bottle, and will not start a mix if there is not enough of a particular component.

    While Muse talked, the machine automatically pulled and measured all five components, a process that could be viewed through the large window, then presented the finished paint---four minutes and 43 seconds after it received the color information from Irus Match.

    Muse said the average painter would take about 10 minutes to manually mix the same paint. In an average shop that paints five cars a day, that works out to about 208 hours a year spent mixing paint.

    "That's three-plus weeks of time that you're not paid for," Muse said. “Time is money in a body shop. A painter should be painting, not mixing.”

    The Irus Mix is also very easy to use, Muse said, meaning a painter or technician does not need a lot of training or experience to operate it---an important point as the collision repair industry struggles to attract enough quality employees.

    “This is the future,” Muse said.

  • BASF Hosting 4 Educational Sessions at SEMA

    BASF-SEMA-SCRS-RDE-sessions

    BASFis supporting the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) Repairer Driven Education at the 2023 SEMA Show by delivering four world-class sessions that speak to the heart of the issues facing today’s collision repair businesses.

    BASF is proud to be one SCRS’s well-known industry experts to re-energize your business with implementable solutions. Here’s a sample of what’s ahead:

    The Influence the Refinishing Process Plays in Evolving Technology
    9:30-11 a.m. Oct. 31

    The automotive collision industry is undergoing a rapid technological change. By 2025, 30% of the vehicles in use will be connected, and the percentage is expected to soar. More than 50% of registered vehicles include ADAS features today, impacting all areas of collision repair. In this session, learn how the refinishing process has evolved and the importance of painters reviewing OEM repair procedures during the repair process to mitigate liability, ensure safe and proper repairs, and reach complete customer satisfaction.

    Talent Shortage---In Five Years, Will We Have Collision Technicians?
    Noon–1:30 p.m., Nov. 1

    What are you doing to attract and develop qualified, diverse talent for your business? Are you engaged with your local career and technical education centers? What else could or should you be doing? In this session, we will discuss how to define your shop’s culture, develop career paths, leverage available resources and prepare for the looming talent shortage.

    The New Age of Paint and Material Reimbursement
    2:30-3:30 p.m. Nov. 1

    Do you enjoy a healthy profit on your Paint and Materials (P&Ms)? Would you like to increase your P&M profits? The way the collision centers have estimated their P&M cost differs greatly compared to how the insurance companies compensate their shops creating many questions about managing this profit center. This panel discussion brings together a dynamic panel of paint, materials and inventory experts who understand the changes in paint and materials technologies, digital tools and the real-world application of these tools to maximize paint and material profit potential.

    Being Elite in a Consolidating Market
    2:30–4 p.m. Nov. 1

    As shops become more specialized through OEM certifications, they are being criticized by third party payers who may have a lack of understanding for the value of proper repairs. In this class, you will learn to communicate to a customer why having their vehicle repaired at a certified repair facility is a benefit, learn how to explain the different skill sets used in a repair and why labor rates are higher than a high-volume facility to a third-party payer, and acknowledge their position in their market to maximize visibility and prominence as an elite repair facility.

    Attendees can register for sessions at RDE Registration. The SEMA Show runs Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

  • BendPak to Have 4 Booths at 2023 SEMA Show

    SEMA-2023-BendPak-booths

    The BendPak, Ranger, Cool Boss, QuickJack, JackPak, Autostacker, MaxJax and Ergochair brands will be represented.

    Leading equipment manufacturer BendPak, Inc., is doubling down on its 2023 SEMA Show investment, Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, bringing new car lifts, evaporative coolers, EV lifts, boat lifts, wheel service equipment and more to four dedicated booths at the annual automotive trade show.

    The company’s many automotive brands will be represented, including BendPak®, Ranger®, Autostacker®, Cool Boss®, QuickJack®, MaxJax®, Ergochair and JackPak®.

    BendPak also will have a custom lift in the SEMA Battle of the Builders booth and several products in the New Product Showcase.

    “For years, our customers have known they can find the newest car lifts and best shop equipment with unbeatable show pricing in the BendPak booth outside in the Silver Lot,” said Jeff Kritzer, BendPak president and CEO. “But as we’ve grown our business over the last few years, we needed more space to showcase the latest developments across our eight brands. Expanding to four booths lets us bring more equipment to demonstrate to customers. As always, we’ll be doing deals and taking orders all week.”

    Here's where to find the BendPak brands at the 2023 SEMA Show:

    BendPak-2023-SEMA-Show-booths

    The company is planning to introduce at least half a dozen new products at the show, including BendPak boat lifts, two-post lifts, and EV lifts; Coolee by Cool Boss personal air coolers; JackPak power packs, and a Ranger combination disc/drum brake lathe.

    Stop by any of the booths for SEMA-exclusive pricing. For more information, visit the website or call (805) 933-9970.

  • Car ADAS Solutions Announces Amplified Presence at SEMA 2023

    Car-ADAS-SEMA-Show-2023

    The provider of ADAS calibration technology and services is participating in three presentations, as well as hosting two booths in the Upper South Hall.

    Car ADAS Solutions announced its participation in this year’s SEMA Show, taking place Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Las Vegas, NV. In addition to hosting booth #33245 and taking part in the SEMA Garage, booth #36007, the company will participate in three presentations.

    “As a trusted name in the calibration space, Car ADAS Solutions is set to make a significant impact at this year’s SEMA Show,” said Greg Peeters, CEO of Car ADAS Solutions. “In addition to our dynamic booths showcasing the latest innovations in calibration, we will be participating in three engaging presentations throughout the show where attendees will have the opportunity to learn about this growing field.”

    Throughout the show, the Car ADAS Solutions team will offer unique insights about calibration, share expertise and answer questions about its services at the Las Vegas Convention Center, booths #33245 and #36007 in the Upper South Hall.

    Peeters will also be participating in the following three presentations.

    The Influence the Refinishing Process Plays in Evolving Vehicle Technology

    9:30-11 a.m. Oct. 31
    Las Vegas Convention Center, Upper South Hall, S231

    More than 50% of today’s registered vehicles include ADAS features, which will impact all areas of collision repair. Refinish coatings have become a functional part of the safe operation of ADAS. In this session, moderated by Jim Chargo from BASF, panelists will talk about how the refinishing process has evolved and the importance of painters reviewing OEM procedures during the repair process to mitigate liability, ensure safe and proper repairs and customer satisfaction. Peeters will join Jeff Wildman from BASF and Lynn Rogers from Stellantisin the panel, part of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) Repairer Driven Education Series.

    Register for RD4 here.

    Overcoming the Challenges of Opening and Managing an ADAS Calibration Business

    Noon-1:30 p.m. Nov. 1
    Las Vegas Convention Center, Upper South Hall, S231

    During this panel discussion, moderated by Peeters, body shop owners and entrepreneurs will share their experiences overcoming and capitalizing on challenges while opening and running successful calibration businesses. Attendees will hear about the most popular types of calibration being done today in their shops, when and how to calibrate and the critical OEM procedures often overlooked during a calibration. They will also explain why the setup of the calibration environment is an important factor in the accuracy of the calibration and the need for proper documentation to mitigate liability. The panel is part of the SCRS Repairer Driven Education Series.

    Panelists include Car ADAS Solutions’ licensees:

    • Andy Dingman, Calibrations Technologies (CAL Tech)
    • Jamie Humphries, Georgia ADAS
    • Tony Morgan, APEX Calibrations
    • C.J. Peeters, Fargo ADAS Solutions and MN ADAS Solutions

    Register for RD16 here.

    ADAS Calibration Facility Strategies: From Startup to Day-to-Day Operations

    3-4:30 p.m. Nov. 1
    Las Vegas Convention Center, N254

    The free 90-minute panel discussion will be moderated by Peeters and Mike Muller, aftermarket ADAS engineer at SEMA Garage Detroit. Participants will cover the steps to create a successful ADAS calibration business model, including market study, creating a business plan, real estate location, renovation, ADAS calibration technician profile, technical training, marketing and delivering services to clients with quality, documentation and convenience. In addition, information will be shared about the SEMA Garage research regarding how lifting a truck affects ADAS functionality.

    Panelists include calibration facility owners and Car ADAS Solutions’ licensees:

    • Darrell Amberson, LaMettry’s Collision
    • Michael Giarrizzo Jr., Calibration Connection and DCR Systems
    • Sean Guthrie, Car Crafters, Open Road Collision and 1st Choice Collision
    • Andy Tylka, Midwest ADAS and TAG Auto Group

    Register for the free session here.

  • Collision Industry Red Carpet Awards Celebrates Standout Achievements

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards

    The annual awards show, held during SEMA week, recognizes the people and companies stepping up to help move the industry forward.

    The annual Collision Industry Red Carpet Awards ceremony was held this year in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Collision Industry Conference(CIC). The ceremony typically takes place during a morning breakfast at the SEMA Show; however, this year, industry members gathered during an evening event Oct. 31 to celebrate standout achievements and character in the collision repair industry.

    Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of SCRS, and Jordan Hendler, CIC administrator, planned CIC’s 40th anniversary-celebration with the assistance of several volunteers, including Chris Cage and Lizzy Greve from Admin Concepts, Jill Tuggle, executive director of the Auto Body Association of Texas, and “Collisionista” Petra Schroeder.

    The event was sponsored by participating organizations, with added sponsorship from BodyShop Business, the Collision Industry Conference (CIC), the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) and SCRS.

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    Jason Stahl, left, editor of BodyShop Business, with Executive of the Year single shop winner Greg Solesbee, right, from CARSTAR Hayden.

    Liz Stein from OECemceed the event and described it as the industry’s “version of the Oscars with the best quality people, as well as awards that actually are meaningful and change lives.”

    BodyShop Business

    The Executive of the Year award has been given out to a collision repairer by BodyShop Business since 1984. Since 2014, the publication has recognized repairers in two categories, single shop and multi-shop owner.

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    Stahl, left, with Executive of the Year multi shop winner Charlie Drake, right, chief operations officer at Classic Collision.

    This year, the single shop winner was Greg Solesbee from CARSTAR Hayden in Hayden, ID. Charlie Drake, chief operations officer at Classic Collision, received the multi-shop owner award.

    “The winners of these prestigious awards are true collision repair visionaries who have experienced great success through innovative thinking, overcoming challenges and persevering,” said Jason Stahl, editor of BodyShop Business.

    NABC

    Jennifer Hubbard, National Auto Body Council (NABC) board member and secretary, and client engagement manager–Automotive Services Group for CCC, presented NABC’s Changing and Saving Lives Award, which recognizes the individual in the collision repair industry who delivers exemplary service in NABC’s mission of changing and saving lives.

    SEMA-2023-Red-Carpet-Awards
    Jennifer Hubbard, NABC board member and secretary, and client engagement manager–Automotive Services Group for CCC, presented NABC’s Changing and Saving Lives Award to Shawn Crozat, CEO of G&C Auto Body.

    The recipient was Shawn Crozat, CEO of G&C Auto Body in Santa Rosa, CA, who shared his appreciation for the award virtually during the event.

    “It's an absolute honor to receive the Changing and Saving Lives award from NABC,” said Crozat, whose dad was always passionate about giving back to the community. He started the Crozat Family Foundation a decade ago to gift vehicles to the community, specifically survivors of domestic violence. The family has donated 200 cars through the NABC Recycled Rides program.

    “My mom, sister and siblings feel so blessed with this wonderful industry and business we have that we feel it's our obligation to give back to our community and help those in need.”

    CIC

    In honor of CIC’s 40th anniversary, Chairman Frank Terlep, vice president of ADAS solutions at Opus IVS, shared some history about the organization and played a video highlighting memories over the years. This included thoughts from Al Estorga. In 1983, Estorga became upset after being told at an inter-industry event that it was not the appropriate time or place to discuss an issue he had raised as a California shop owner. That later led to the creation of CIC.

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    CIC Chairman Frank Terlep, vice president of ADAS Solutions at Opus IVS, shared some history about CIC and played a video highlighting memories over the years.

    As part of the celebration, CIC announced a new tradition---presenting a Volunteer of the Year award to someone who has gone above and beyond by being an ambassador of the vision and mission of CIC. Darrell Amberson, president of operations for LaMettry’s Collision and CIC past chair, said this includes participating in or chairing committees, contributing to the engagement of the conference, or making things better in general. 

    This year’s award was given to Schroeder, a Hall of Eagles inductee known by many in the industry as “Collisionista.”

    Amberson said the first honoree of the Volunteer of the Year Award is a person who embodies every attribute, makes meaningful contributions and always has new ideas. He added Schroeder serves the industry in many ways, greeting first-timers with a welcoming, warm spirit and epitomizes class and dignity.

    SEMA-2023-Red-Carpet-Awards
    “Collisionista” Petra Schroeder, front left, received the CIC Volunteer of the Year award. Also pictured are Jordan Hendler, back left, CIC administrator, and CIC’s current and past chairs.

    “This is an honor that you can only imagine what this means to me,” said Schroeder. “I will contribute to this industry as much as I possibly can. I love this industry and most of all, I love the people in it.”


    CREF

    Brandon Eckenrode, CREF’s executive director, handed out the organization’s two Fueling the Future Awards. The award recognizes volunteers or businesses going above and beyond to help support the industry’s future.

    Pam Watson, sales and marketing strategist at Albert Kemperle and Florida state chair for I-CAR, was recognized for her help in addressing the critical need for entry-level talent entering the industry.

    In addition to organizing fundraisers that help support local schools and students, Watson plans career fairs, participates in advisory boards, facilitates product donations to schools and organizes field trips so students can interact with industry members.

    2023-Red-Carpet-Awards-SEMA
    Brandon Eckenrode, left, CREF’s executive director, with Pam Watson, right, sales and marketing strategist at Albert Kemperle and Florida state chair for I-CAR, who received CREF’s Fueling the Future Award.

    “I want to thank CREF and I-CAR for setting ambitious goals and providing us the resources and the guidance to achieve those goals,” said Watson. “[It’s a] pleasure to work with Brandon and his team. Equipping collision repair education programs with the tools that they need is very valuable to me…I'm just very appreciative of delivering that.”

    CREF’s second Fueling the Future Award recipients included Tony Russo from Volkswagen Group of Americaand Mark Allen from Audi of America. The auto manufacturers donated 78 new vehicles slightly damaged in an overseas shipment and could not be sold to consumers.

    As a result, 18 schools in Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia received a mixture of internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric vehicles, totaling a donation of more than $2 million.

    “Thousands of students are going to be impacted…through this very generous donation,” said Eckenrode. Once the schools use the vehicles, they will be donated to local first responders.

    I-CAR

    I-CAR President and CEO John Van Alstyne announced the Jeff Silver and the Russ Verona Memorial awards recipients. 

    “Our two award recipients promote technical education and professionalism beyond just their own businesses,” said Van Alstyne. “These industry champions recognize the relationship of technical knowledge and skills to perform high-quality collision repairs that ultimately benefit the consumer.”

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    I-CAR President and CEO John Van Alstyne, left, presented the Jeff Silver Memorial Award to Zack Beck, corporate claims trainer for GEICO Insurance.

    Zack Beck, corporate claims trainer for GEICO Insurance, received the Jeff Silver award, given out since 2009 and named after industry leader Jeff Silver. Silver pioneered I-CAR’s Platinum and Gold Class recognition programs for individuals and shops.

    “Our award recipient, who trains appraisers, is viewed by coworkers as a true champion for the I-CAR community,” said Van Alstyne. Beck has completed about 200 I-CAR courses and continues to train.

    “Nothing is more satisfying to our award winner than helping advance the careers of his teammates and other professionals he meets through active networking in our industry,” said Van Alstyne. “He's especially supportive of newcomers to appraising and offers solid training recommendations to give them a good start.”

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    I-CAR President CEO John Van Alstyne, left, with Ron Reichen, right, owner of Precision Body and Paint in Beaverton, OR, who accepted the Russ Verona Memorial Award presented to Clinton Body Shop in Mississippi, established by late John Mosley.

    Clinton Body Shop in Mississippi, established by John Mosley, received the Russ Verona Memorial Award, presented every year since 2006 to honor the memory of industry pioneer Russ Verona. Verona owned and operated the first I-CAR Gold Class-designated business and made numerous contributions to reinforce a positive image of the industry.

    Van Alstyne said the death of Mosely left a huge void in the industry. Moseley was a 22-year member of SCRS and served on its board. He traveled throughout the country, promoting education and proper collision repairs. As a consumer advocate, he lobbied state and federal lawmakers and testified on Capitol Hill.

    “His selflessness is infused in the business he built,” said Van Alstyne. “He was always willing to work with local shops, even direct competitors, to help them understand the importance of OEM procedures and training.”

    Ron Reichen, owner of Precision Body and Paint in Beaverton, OR, accepted the award on behalf of John’s widow, Carol.

    “John was a warrior for our industry,” said Reichen. “He always put the customer’s needs above all else. John believed there was only one correct way to repair a vehicle, and that was knowing the vehicle's construction and the correct methodology that could only be achieved through training. Not only did John believe in I-CAR, but every vehicle that he repaired saw the I-CAR stamp on it.”


    CIECA

    CIECA Chairman Greg Best, senior business analyst at California Casualty, announced CIECA’s award recipients.

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    CIECA Chairman Greg Best, left, senior business analyst at California Casualty, with Frank Phillips, right, formerly of Rivian, who received an Outstanding Achievement award.

    This year, two individuals received an Outstanding Achievement award for their tremendous contribution and dedication to CIECA over the last year.

    Frank Phillips, formerly of Rivian, was the first.

    “He is an active supporter of CIECA,” said Best. “He went above and beyond to arrange a tour of the Rivian plant as part of the recent CONNEX Conference and gave us a behind-the-scenes look at what the EV company is doing.”

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    Best, left, with Jake Rodenroth, right, North American Body Repair Program operations manager at Lucid Motors, who received an Outstanding Achievement Award.

    Jake Rodenroth, North American Body Repair Program operations manager at Lucid Motors, also received an award for his committee participation and presenting at CIECA events.

    “I want to thank my team at Lucid Motors; I couldn't do it without them,” said Rodenroth, who thanked Andy MacDonald, Lucid’s director of technical operations, the certified Lucid repair facilities and his family, most of all his dad.

    Bill Brower, vice president of industry relations at Solera, received CIECA’s Chairperson’s Award.

    “Over the last year, he has taken an active role on the CIECA Board of Trustees and regularly contributes to board discussions to help move the organization forward,” said Best.

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    Best, left, with Bill Brower, right, vice president of industry relations at Solera, who received CIECA’s Chairperson’s Award.

    Brower, who helped at his dad’s body shop while growing up, has worked in claims for 35 years.

    “The ability to have an organization like CIECA to allow us to exchange information accurately to help customers at their time of need is really, really important,” said Brower. “I'm honored to be a part of the CIECA organization and really appreciate the industry and all that you do for consumers to help them get their cars repaired properly and pleased to play a small role in that.”

    The final CIECA award was for the 2023 Electronic Commerce Company of the Year, which recognizes the company that contributes the most through its employees, resources and dedication to help CIECA achieve its mission, objectives and goals.

    OECreceived this honor and Ken Eagleson, OEC’s vice president of business development and a CIECA board member, was recognized for his dedication on behalf of the company.

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    Best, far left, presented the 2023 Electronic Commerce Company of the Year Award to OEC team members, second from left to right, Ken Eagleson, OEC’s vice president of business development and a CIECA board member, Pat Blech and Tanya Sweetland.

    “The company chosen this year has supported CIECA and its mission in many ways,” said Best. “In addition to active representation on the Board of Trustees, company members greatly assisted with planning the CONNEX Conference.”

    SCRS

    SCRS Chair Amber Alley, manager of Barsotti’s Body & Fender, noted how special the event was, how “deserving everyone has been, and what a great opportunity it was to get such beautiful people with so much to offer together and acknowledge their accomplishments.”

    SCRS board members Tony Adams, business services consultant for AkzoNobel, and Andy Tylka, owner of TAG Auto Group, presented the 2023 Affiliate Association Award, given to an affiliate association that displays exemplary actions of leadership and helps to lift the collision repair professional in their state. It has only been given out seven other times. 

    This year, the recipient was the Auto Body Association of Texas, accepted by Tuggle.

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    Pictured, left to right, are SCRS Chair Amber Alley, manager of Barsotti’s Body & Fender; Jill Tuggle, executive director of the Auto Body Association of Texas, which received the SCRS 2023 Affiliate Association Award; Tony Adams, business services consultant for AkzoNobel; and Andy Tylka, owner of TAG Auto Group.

    “This year's recipient has really demonstrated exceptional leadership in their state and their activity in advocating for legislation, specifically the work they do to work with lawmakers to make sure that they understand the issues that are happening in their state and how they're impacting consumers,” noted Adams.

    “The person accepting this award for the organization is selfless,” added Tylka. “She a progressive thinker. She encourages people to learn from what they're doing.”

    “I've been in this industry for a long time…it has been a pleasure to me to fight the good fight and to be there and represent the small guys and the independent shops and really just be here not for a paycheck or to sell a product, but to do what's good for this industry and the empty chair,” said Tuggle. “That is what those associations represent every single day.”

    Michael Bradshaw, vice president of K & M Collision, awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to the late John Mosley, owner of Clinton Body Shop. The award is designed to recognize people who have given generously to the aid of their industry nationwide.

    “He was as genuine an individual you'll ever meet in your life,” said Bradshaw. “He cared deeply about everyone else, and he was always someone who put others’ needs before his.”

    Bradshaw said Mosley was constantly standing up for consumers and was believed in political action, spending countless hours traveling to D.C. to meet with Congress. One of those efforts spurred the preservation of the 1963 Consent Decree.

    Burl Richards, owner of Burl’s Collision Center, accepted the award on his behalf and shared some thoughts from Mosley’s family. 

    “Thank you all for honoring our husband and father with this Lifetime Achievement Award. John was a one-of-a-kind person," Richards said. "He always believed in standing up for what was right, even if it meant standing alone. He was a man of many accomplishments, and each one, no matter how small or large, was just as important as the other.”

    2023-SEMA-Red-Carpet-Awards
    Kye Yeung from European Motor Car Works received the March Taylor Kina'ole Award from SCRS. Pictured, left to right, are Barry Dorn of Dorn's Body & Paint, Amber Alley of Barsotti's Body & Fender, Brenda and Kye Yeung, and Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of SCRS.

    Schulenburg, of SCRS, and Barry Dorn, vice president of Dorn’s Body and Paint, presented the final award of the evening, the 2023 March Taylor Kina’ole Award. The award honors the legacy and lessons of the late March Taylor, who owned Auto Body Hawaiiand served on the SCRS Board of Directors.

    Schulenburg said the award represents the spirit of Kina’ole, a Hawaiian word for flawlessness in the sense of “doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person, for the right reason, with the right feeling, the first time."

    The award was presented to Kye Yeung, owner of European Motor Car Works.

    “This award is about folks that truly shine a light on all of us…whether or not they intend to,” said Dorn. “I remember the first time I met Kai was through March at his beautiful store and it truly amazed me what he does, how he does things with his family, and his certifications.”

    When Dorn talked to Yeung about joining SCRS, Yeung hesitated and said that he didn’t feel ready.

    “One of the most remarkable moments is when there's somebody who everyone around a board table knows is the right person to come sit beside it,” said Schulenburg. “It’s common that that person just doesn't believe they belong there because they look at all the greatness in everyone else, and sometimes, they fail to recognize it is within themselves."

    Schulenburg said Yeung has gone above and beyond since being part of SCRS.

    “The success that that I feel in accomplishing this is because of the friends around the table,” said Yeung. “Thank you so much. I'm so proud to be part of this.”

  • Collision Repairers Learn How to Negotiate with Insurers to Get Paid for All Work

    two-men-on-stage

    Negotiating with insurers is just part of the repair process and nothing to dread, according to Mike Anderson of Collision Advice.

    Anderson and Danny Gredinberg, of the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG), presented “Bullet-Proof Negotiation Tactics” Nov. 2 at the 2022 SEMA Show, part of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ (SCRS) Repairer Driven Education series.

    “I’m seeing more and more friction between shops and insurers,” Anderson said. “The goal is to give you negotiation strategies to reduce that friction and get paid more.”

    Anderson and Gredinberg gave tips on how to approach negotiations from a fact-based standpoint---with documentation, and where to find it---and finally discussed a collision repairer’s options when an insurer still won’t pay for work.

    Anderson said anyone can get a copy of the full presentation by emailing his assistant, Tiffany Driggers, at tiffany@collisionadvice.com.

    “This presentation is in no way anti-insurance,” Anderson said.

    Many people make the mistake of thinking of negotiations as a negative thing, like a fight or an argument, he said, but they’re a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.

    Repairers must negotiate on things like labor times, not-included labor operations, labor rates, alternative parts usage and more, Anderson said.

    The negotiation begins the moment you interact with the customer, he said. “The customer is really the boss. Get the customer believing in you before you enter into conversation with the payer.”

    Anderson suggested reviewing the vehicle’s owner’s manual with the owner, to show the owner exactly what the automaker says must be done to properly complete the repair. If the manual isn’t in the car, it can be downloaded from the DEG’s website, www.degweb.org.

    If your shop is not in a DRP and the insurance company is causing a delay, call the customer every day, Gredinberg said.

    “Tell the customer their car is on hold after disassembling, and they may want to call to expedite the claim,” Anderson said. “After you’ve called them two or three days, the customer will call and either get their insurance to pay, or they’ll pay it themselves. Either way, you get the car out.”

    When writing an estimate, it needs to tell a story, with good line notes and quality photos.

    “Line notes are critical to show why you support that charge,” Gredinberg said. “It helps reduce back and forth on a phone call.”

    Photos should capture damage head on, use aids to show dents, use proper lighting and have a date stamp if allowed, he said.

    Attach OEM repair procedures to the estimate, as they can change frequently.

    Anderson then went over his “Rules of Negotiation.”

    Your Opinion Don’t Mean Jack

    “It only matters what you can prove, substantiate or justify,” he said.

    Don’t Take the Bait

    “When insurers say, ‘No one else charges for that, you’re the only one,’ they’re baiting you,” he said. “Say, ‘I don’t care what anyone else charges for, I want to stick to the facts.’”

    Present the Facts

    Is it required to restore the car to pre-accident condition? Is it included in any other labor operation? Is there a pre-determined time in the database? If not, what is it worth?

    “These are questions based on fact, not emotions,” Anderson said.


    Prove It

    Use OEM repair procedures; estimating systems; credible internet sources like SCRS, I-CAR, ASE and OEM websites; manufacturer bulletins; scan tools; the vehicle manual; DEGweb.org; and Collision Advice’s “Who Pays for What” surveys to find documentation supporting your position.

    SCRS’s Guide to Complete Repair Planning, available on SCRS.com, is a reminder of steps that may be performed during repair process, Anderson said, and the SCRS BOT, available at scrs.com/bot, finds potentially missed line items.

    “The average shop that uses this increases estimates by $300 to $600,” Anderson said.

    Gredinberg said the DEG allows shops to submit inquiries about steps and parts that might be missing from repair procedures in CCC, Audatex and Mitchell. The inquiry is usually resolved within a day, and the procedure gets updated.

    Anderson said to build a foundation of trust with the insurance providers as well.

    “A foundation of trust gets to resolutions quicker,” he said. “You can have an honest dialogue without fear of them judging you or getting mad.”

    When an insurance provider says no, it doesn’t mean no---it means they don’t know enough to say yes, Anderson said. “They’re not convinced.”

    Use time study videos---recording a technician performing a step in the repair process---to prove how long it takes and how much that labor time is worth, or a resource like 3M’s RepairStack.

    Next, focus the conversation on what the negative consequences will be if you do not perform the operation.

    “Tell them, the reason I need to do this is because if I do not, these are the negative consequences,” Anderson said.

    As an example, he said, Toyota says when the bumper is removed, the front camera must be adjusted, because, if not, the panoramic view monitor system won’t work.

    If the insurer doesn’t want to pay for the front camera adjustment, ask “How should WE notify the vehicle owner the panoramic view monitor system won’t work?” Gredinberg said.

    Next, try to understand the insurer’s position.

    “You don’t have to be wrong for me to be right and vice versa; there can be two right answers,” Anderson said. “It’s all about perception. Why do they believe they should pay for four hours on that dent when you think it needs a new door?

    “Seek to let that person feel like they’ve been heard,” he said.

    When adding a new charge to an estimate for the first time, the appraiser will ask “Why now?”

    “Start the conversation with your story---what has changed in your world,” Anderson said. “You took a class, watched a video, read an article, saw it in the owner’s manual, etc. Have the documentation ready before they arrive.”

    Anderson said the goal is to present your estimate so matter-of-factly, “no” is not an option. He suggested improving interactions with insurers by developing scripts and practicing those conversations with your team, after business hours, a minimum of four times.

    Avoid the “pause” in a conversation with an insurer, Anderson said.

    “It causes you to second guess yourself and then cut your own estimate,” he said. “Instead, go straight in to presenting the facts, and close with the negative consequences [of not performing that operation.]”

    If the insurer still is not convinced, the options for the repairer are to perform the operation for free, charge the customer, refuse the job, ask for a hold harmless agreement, right to appraisal, involve the agent or have the customer come on-site and meet with the insurer, but prep the customer first.

    “The best thing you can do is to get that customer involved in the very beginning,” Anderson said.

    “At the end of the day, remember: do you want easy, or do you want worth it?” he said. “This is not a magic bullet, but it’ll increase your chances of reimbursement.”

  • Compact WD-40 Precision Pen Debuted at SEMA Show

    man-with-truck

    When most people think of the WD-40 Brand, what typically comes to mind is the company’s iconic blue and yellow can with a red top that contains the Original WD-40 Formula, a staple in most body shops across the country. 

    During the 2022 SEMA Show, the company debuted the WD-40 Precision Pen, which contains the same multi-use formula but in a compact size. The new product is expected to be released in early 2023.

    “This is an innovation on our Original WD-40 Formula,” said Dan Anderson, director of innovation at WD-40 Company. “What makes it unique is that it allows for a lot of control and precision wherever you need the product.”

    “We’re proud to equip technicians and builders with what they need to get the job done right and take things to the next level,” added Greg Kershaw, director of brand engagement and experience at WD-40 Company. 

    The company said the product is a result of feedback from end users and reflects the same spirit of perseverance, innovation and tenacity for solving tough challenges that led the brand to introduce the original formula nearly 70 years ago. 

    Dan Anderson and Zeb Brown showcased the WD-40 Specialist Line of products.
    two-men-with-truck

    “There’s a good amount of product in there and it’s great for all the things that the Original WD-40 Formula is known for, such as getting squeaks out, lubricating moving parts, protecting against rust and corrosion, loosening rust and displacing moisture,” said Anderson. 

    He said the pen is easy to use and store, ideal for tight spaces and small projects. 

    “The compact size is meant for times when technicians want to get the product exactly in a certain area,” he explained. “This is great because you only get the formula where you need it and the amount you need.”

    Another benefit is the pen’s portability. Due to its small size, Anderson said it can be stored in a toolbox, glove compartment, pocket and/or toolbelt. 

    The new product will be available in all the same places WD-40 Brand products are sold.

    During the SEMA Show, WD-40 Brand gave away 2,000 limited-edition prototypes of the WD-40 Precision Pen with seven-time Pro-4 champion Kyle LeDuc’s signature and a photo of his custom race truck. Those who received a pen with a golden cap were given a special edition Carhartt hat featuring LeDuc. 

    The WD-40 Brand team said they were thrilled to showcase their partnership with LeDuc at this year’s SEMA Show. “Partnerships with pros like LeDuc and others in the motorsport and bike world exemplify the brand's longstanding mission of helping pros take things to the next level,” the company said.

    LeDuc’s custom-built 4-wheel drive, 900-horsepower race truck was displayed at the WD-40 Brand booth. It featured a new look for the SEMA Show that included a custom chrome livery.

    SEMA Show attendees also had the opportunity to view the WD-40 Specialist line, which includes lubricants, penetrants, greases, contact cleaners and degreasers and rust-management solutions. 

    “The Original WD-40 Formula does most everything,” said Anderson. “However, when you have serious problems and need a specific solution, we have the WD-40 Specialist line.”

    This includes a Silicone option for surfaces such as rubber, plastic and vinyl, White Lithium Grease for metal-to-metal applications, and Contact Cleaner for electric parts. “Especially with the rise of electric vehicles, there are a lot more uses for that,” said Anderson. 

    In total, WD-40 Brand offers more than 30 products and each is designed to solve a specific problem.

    Many of the new products are shared with WD-40 Company’s PRO Board for evaluation. “When we need feedback on something we can reach out to them,” said Anderson. “We’ll send them samples and they will try things out and provide feedback.”

    For more information about WD-40 products, visit www.wd40.com.

  • Digital Access Available for All SCRS RDE Sessions from SEMA 2022

    SCRS-RDE-SEMA-2022-digital-access

    All Repairer Driven Education (RDE) sessions, recorded by SCRSduring the 2022 SEMA Show, are now available for digital access at rde.scrs.com.

    Current SCRS members are entitled to a 20% discount off purchases in the SCRS Online Education Platform. If you are not currently a member of SCRS, join online at www.scrs.com/join-scrs or contact our office at info@scrs.com to confirm your membership status.

    The 2022 Repairer Driven Education (RDE) FULL SERIES Online pass ($249) provides at-home access to more than 20 educational sessions originally delivered throughout the week during the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV. Unlike the in-person event---where attendees had to pick and choose between sessions within a time slot---the RDE FULL SERIES Online access allows attendees to watch every session, without having to pick and choose. This means more opportunities for education, and greater ability to share the information amongst everyone within the repair facility.

    For a full list of RDE sessions and speakers, visit rde.scrs.com/p/2022.

    The FULL SERIES Online also includes access to the three sessions that comprised the 2022 OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit, including topics on "OEM Repair Procedure Accessibility," featuring representatives of Audi of America, Mercedes-Benz USA, Toyota Motor North America, Alliance for Automotive Innovation, Barsotti’s Body & Fender and SCRS; "Tackling the Technician Crisis Together," featuring representatives of Ducker Carlisle, I-CAR, Collision Engineering and TechForce Foundation; and "Managing Scan Tool Choices While Ensuring Safe and Proper Repairs," featuring representatives of Repairify, Nissan Motor Corporation, Subaru of America and Lucid Motors.

    Once registered for the Full Series Pass, OEM Summit Sessions can be found under "Included Courses," or purchased separately for access to just the three sessions ($99) via rde.scrs.com/p/2022oem.

    SCRS’ objectives in providing digital access to the RDE series is to connect collision repair businesses who were unable to join in person at the SEMA Show, and to allow attendees to bring the leading subject matter experts and topics back home to share with their coworkers. Online attendees can expect the same unique content they would receive in classroom settings, now delivered to the convenience of their own facility.

    Access to the 2022 Repairer Driven Education series online is made possible with support from of is currently made possible with support from 3M, AASP, AirPro Diagnostics, AkzoNobel, BASF Corporation, CAR-O-LINER, CCC Intelligent Solutions, Celette, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, PPG Automotive Refinish, Reliable Automotive Equipment, Repairify, SEMA, Spanesi-Americas and Toyota Motor Sales.

    Source: SCRS

  • Don’t Look for Short-Term End to Fast Growth in Average Collision Repair Invoices

    Bart-Mazurek-CCC-MSO-Symposium-collision-repair-invoices

    One trend not expected to end in 2023: the rapid rise in average repair costs.

    That was among the messages Bart Mazurek of CCC Intelligent Solutionsshared during the MSO Symposium in November in Las Vegas.

    “If we look at 2018, the average repair cost was about $3,000,” said Mazurek, vice president of consulting services for CCC. “Now we’re looking at just north of $4,000. And given inflationary trends, I anticipate that number being around $4,400 or $4,500 [in 2023].”

    He cited among the causes the rise in the average number of parts being replaced per repair job.

    “In just a two-year span, we’ve gone from 10.5 parts to almost 12.5 parts,” he said. “And those two additional parts are driving four additional hours of labor.”

    He noted a bumper for a 1996 HondaAccord consisted of about 11 components, but the current model Accord bumper includes more than 20. More of those parts, such as ADAS sensors, are not repairable and are available only through the automakers.

    He said the OEM share of average parts costs had been “rather steady for years,” but in 2022, it “really jumped up because the OEMs are the only ones that can supply those additional two parts per job.”

    CCC’s data seems to indicate the increase in the average repair order isn’t being dramatically impacted by a significant increase in shop labor rates.

    “Labor rates have only gone up $1 this year compared to last year,” Mazurek said, noting he was speaking only of work processed through insurer direct repair programs (DRPs). “It’s continuing to rise, but it’s a slow process.”

    He shared a graph indicating the growth in the national average labor rate has lagged below the consumer price index (CPI) for “motor vehicle maintenance and repair in U.S. cities” since late 2018, but the difference has become increasingly stark in 2022, with that CPI growth far outpacing increases in labor rates.

    Shops Have Fewer DRPs

    The slow growth in DRP labor rates could be contributing to another trend Mazurek reported: Shops have fewer DRP agreements on average than they have in the past. Across all business models---single-location, dealership and MSOs---shops averaged 4.6 DRPs in 2022, according to CCC data, down from an average of 5.2 in 2021, more than an 11% decline.

    Breaking it down by shop type, dealership collision shops fell from 6.3 DRPs to 5.8; regional MSOs fell more than 6% to an average of 5.6 per shop; and independent shops dropped from 3.1 to 2.8 DRPs on average---more than a 9% decline.

    But the trend among the national MSOs is even more stark. They averaged 12.3 DRPs per location in 2020, but that’s fallen two years in a row to reach an average of 10.2 in 2022, down 17% over two years.

    “I think that has to do with repair facilities reevaluating DRPs based on the current market and their goals,” Mazurek said. “And they decided to reduce the number of DRP programs to better align with their goals.”

    Continued Decline in ‘Hours Per Day’

    The downward trend in labor hours produced per repair day that has been occurring since 2017 also continued in 2022, Mazurek said. Looking at second quarter data over six years, shops were producing about 3.5 labor hours per day on drivable vehicles until 2020; that fell to 2.8 hours per day in 2020, and fell again, to 2.3 hours per day in 2022. That’s a 34% decline.


    There was even a bit steeper decline---about 38%---for non-drivable vehicles, down to 1.8 hours per day in 2022 from between 2.8 and 3 hours per day in 2017 through 2020.

    Mazurek said some of that decline could be because of overloaded shops having to spend more time shuffling cars around, because of backlogs and part delays, rather than a technician working steadily on one or two cars start to finish. He doesn’t expect those factors to diminish before mid-2023 at the earliest.

    Mazurek also said he has “a hypothesis that I can’t prove yet” that when shop backlogs of work were two weeks or less, “the competitive nature of technicians, working next to his or her peer, wants the next car,” seeing the potential end of the line of that work.

    “But if you have five or six or seven weeks of vehicles stacked endlessly, it’s effectively guaranteed work forever,” Mazurek said. “So there’s no real rush. I’d love to be able to prove that, but I feel strongly that there’s this lack of urgency overall amongst technicians.”

  • Economist Tells Collision Repairers at MSO Symposium: ‘Beware the Economic Narrative’

    man-speaking

    While inflation, supply chain issues and labor shortages have many on edge about the U.S. economy, Christopher Thornberg offered a fairly positive message to collision repairers at the MSO Symposium in Las Vegas on Oct. 31.

    Thornberg, who holds a doctorate in business economics from UCLA and is founder of Beacon Economics in California, said those worried about the current gloom-and-doom headlines about the economy should go back and look at similarly worried predictions not only at the start of the pandemic, but even back in 2019.

    “Look, take a step back and recognize that these stories you are seeing year after year are a hell of a lot scarier than the world around us,” Thornberg said. “So beware the narrative. We live in odd times, but it’s not a recession, and indeed I don’t expect any kind of recession in the near term. There is so much pent-up consumer demand in our economy right now.”

    He acknowledged higher interest rates are cooling off home prices, but “the fundamentals of real estate are actually still very good right now.” Inflation will burn out on its own, he said. While an inflationary economy is brittle---“If a real shock does pop up, it could cause real problems”---“the scariest thing to me is still the narrative,” he said.

    For collision repairers, a slowdown in the construction industry will free up shipping container capacity for other goods, likely easing supply chain issues, Thornberg said. And someone who finds themselves priced out of the housing market may decide to buy a new car instead.

    “If you’re just looking at people buying and driving cars, I don’t expect that to slow down at all,” Thornberg said. “Look at the roads. Everyone is driving. The federal funds rate does not keep people from getting on the road.”

    No Quick Drop in Shops’ Backlog Forecast

    man-speaking
    Bart Mazurek of CCC Intelligent Solutions said high used vehicle pricing will continue to keep the percentage of vehicles being declared total losses down next year.

    Also offering mostly good news for body shops moving into 2023 was Bart Mazurek, vice president of consulting services for CCC Intelligent Solutions' automotive services group. He told MSO Symposium attendees he doesn’t expect the record-high average backlog of work at body shops across the country to decline much before mid-2023 at the earliest. The labor shortage is a key cause, he said, and there’s actually been some decline in enrollment and graduate counts in collision training programs.

    “While supply chain issues will alleviate [next year], that’s not going to cut these backlogs in half,” Mazurek said. “Realistically, they will probably get worse in the interim, and then mid-next year will start to come back down. But I don’t anticipate them going much below four weeks.”

    He said claims counts this year are running ahead of 2021 but still aren’t what they were in 2019, in part because downtown traffic and morning commute congestion in major urban markets is still down compared to 2019.

    “I don’t anticipate repair volume to come back to pre-pandemic levels maybe ever,” Mazurek said. “A lot of that has to do with vehicles getting smarter, and with ADAS being standard on every new vehicle. Especially in terms of front-end collisions, they’re going to become less frequent and more costly.”

    That said, strong used vehicle values have kept the percentage of those claims resulting in a total loss vehicle declining the past two years. In the fourth quarter of 2020, total losses accounted for 21.7% of the total claims count, according to CCC data; by the third quarter of this year, that was down to 17%.

  • Future Technology Presents Liability Concerns for Collision Repairers

    ADAS-technology-liability-collision-repairers-panel

    As technology increases in new vehicles, so too does the risk of liability for collision repairers, but steps can be taken to mitigate it.

    That was the focal point of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ Repairer Driven Education session, “Protecting Your Business Against Liability Exposure from Evolving Technology,” held Nov. 1 during the 2022 SEMA Show.

    The panel featured David Willett, co-founder and chief underwriting officer for SPARK Underwriters; Shaughn Kennedy, co-founder and senior underwriter for SPARK; Tracy Lewis, owner of Richie’s Collision Center in Mississippi and president of the Gulf States Collision Association; and Jason Mundy, owner of Mundy’s Collision Center near Atlanta, GA.

    When Mundy and Lewis were asked separately about their top concerns as a body shop owner, Kennedy said, there was a lot of overlap.

    ADAS and Personal Identifying Information

    One of their shared concerns was possibly being liable for damages caused by a sublet vendor performing recalibration services on a car’s ADAS features---either because the work was not done properly, causing an accident, or a customer’s personal identifying information was extracted from the infotainment center.

    “You always have to worry about did they do it right, and how do I know,” Kennedy said.

    Mundy said the owner of a shop in Illinois told him about a 2022 ToyotaCamry he repaired. He sent it a local Toyota dealership for recalibration, and then delivered it to the customer.

    Not long after that, the customer called the shop owner and said she had just side-swiped another car on the highway when her side mirror’s blind spot indicator failed to come on as she was trying to merge.

    Mundy said when the customer brought the car back to the shop, a scan with an aftermarket tool showed the car had not been calibrated or programmed.

    When contacted, the dealership wrote a $17,000 check to the shop to cover the second round of repairs.

    But, Mundy said, the shop owner said he should’ve driven the car himself before delivering it to the customer the first time. 

    “We put a lot of trust in people we send cars out to,” Kennedy said. “From an insurer standpoint: qualify vendors to mitigate your risk, make sure they have liability insurance. If they don’t, it’s gonna go on your insurance. Your liability insurance is the primary when you sublet work out.”

    Willett said it is becoming important for repairers to track vendors’ insurance.

    “It can run out, or their policy can change, be lowered or altered,” he said.

    Lewis said it is worth considering doing ADAS recalibrations in house, which can both protect a shop from liability issues if a third party does not perform them correctly and save money.

    Mundy pointed out collision repairers need to at least know recalibration procedures, even if they’re not performing them themselves, so they can ask third parties if they did it correctly.

    Kennedy said it is important for shops to delete customers’ information from total loss vehicles.

    “Total losses used to mean just getting remotes and paperwork out of the car,” Lewis said. “Now, when you plug your phone in, it downloads information and stores it---even in rental cars.”

    Lewis said repairers can charge an hour of labor to delete data, following the vehicle’s particular OEM procedure.

    OEM Procedures

    The panel recommended shops research every repair, as OEM procedures can change so frequently---even within the same model year.

    Mundy suggested time-stamping pre-repair research, in case the procedure changes after the repair is complete.

    “I’ve had to examine shops’ work on a lot of claims,” Kennedy said. “ALLDATAcan change from five years ago. There’s no way to prove [it was the correct procedure when you performed it] if you don’t document every repair procedure.”


    EVs

    Mundy said every manufacturer his shop repairs has an EV platform. To get ready, he said his shop is set up to mitigate fire in the paint booth and office, and will purchase new equipment as needed.

    “I don’t really have any fears,” he said. “We will just have to be prepared for them as they come our direction.”

    Willett said EV manufacturers have individualized requirements on how to move their vehicles.

    “I recommend if you have towing [services], stay away from EVs at this point, unless you’ve really got it nailed,” Willett said. “The exposure is too great for what you’re going to earn on that job.”

    Kennedy said he has handled claims in which an EV caught fire on a rollback because it wasn’t in a safe state. 

    “There’s a whole realm of things that comes with proper training, more exposure to [EVs],” he said.

    Willett added batteries are still one of the top three sources of fire in the collision repair industry---even with an ICE car.

    Throughput

    Lewis said her shop has enjoyed a lot of success with its mobile estimating service, which it only advertises on the side of the van it brings to customers.

    “Elderly customers don’t know how to download their insurance company app [to submit claim pictures], so we go to them,” she said. “If nothing else, we capture that customer.”

    Mundy said AI-generated estimates still have their issues.

    “A $1,200 estimate through the app can turn into a $12,000 job [after teardown],” Mundy said. “That makes it take longer. You gotta reconcile it, wait on that to come back.”

    Mundy also said delays for more advanced parts, like anything with a microchip or sensor, are making the cycle time take longer.

    Lewis said one of her customers had a 2022 Toyota Camry that needed a rear distance sensor. The part was delayed indefinitely; the customer ran out of rental coverage and wound up trading the car as-is to a local dealer. It was another six months before the sensor arrived.

    Willett said an insurance company not paying a shop to do something doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to do it to properly repair a vehicle.

    “The agent insuring you should be able to help you explain that to the bill payer,” Willett said. “You’re on the hook for your work.”

    Mundy said as a non-DRP shop owner, he explains to the customer up front when they might have to pay a little more to cover something the insurance company refuses to pay for.

  • Global Finishing Solutions Introduces New Auto Refinish Paint Booth

    Global-Finishing-Systems-Edge-Paint-Booth-SEMA-2023

    The Edge Paint Booth delivers advanced controls; precise, adjustable lighting; and premium contamination control to consistently produce excellent paint finishes and improved throughput. 

    Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) introduced the Edge Paint Booth, which provides industry-leading features with an updated, modern design, while being backed by a manufacturer with decades of experience in the automotive refinish industry. 

    Masterfully designed for today’s collision repair centers and paint shops, the Edge Paint Booth delivers advanced controls; precise, adjustable lighting; and premium contamination control to consistently produce excellent paint finishes and improved throughput. 

    Featuring flush, dual-skin panel construction for a smooth, aesthetically pleasing exterior, and streamlined doors with a sleek, new design and large glass windows, this high-tech booth is sure to be a showpiece in any shop. 

    From top to bottom, GFS Edge is designed for efficiency. Standardized interior dimensions---pre-engineered at 27-, 30- and 33-foot lengths and 9- or 12-foot heights---mean the Edge Paint Booth can accommodate the ever-increasing size of vehicles today without the custom engineering that can prolong lead times. A flush panel design speeds up installation and makes cleaning the booth’s interior a breeze. 

    The Edge Paint Booth’s easy-to-operate controls feature a large, 10-inch touchscreen, with a 15-inch screen available as an upgrade. The improved user experience makes it easy to set up, run booth cycles and perform maintenance. Navigation is simplified, with different modes based on a painter’s role and the tasks the painter needs to complete, so the most relevant information and controls are always at the forefront of the HMI. GFS has also implemented independent toggles and start/stop buttons to avoid the hassle of paint getting on the touch screen. 

    Product and personnel doors on the Edge Paint Booth feature large, inlaid glass panels that provide unobstructed views into the booth, while panic bars allow painters to exit the booth with full hands. 

    Doors are designed to integrate with larger booth openings without any added weight, improving the hinge alignment and seal with less maintenance overall. 

    Energy-efficient, dimmable LED light fixtures in GFS Edge are strategically placed in the booth’s sidewalls and ceiling to minimize the appearance of shadows and hotspots on a vehicle’s surface, and painters can adjust the bulbs’ brightness while they are working---diffusing light evenly for higher quality paint jobs. 

    Flexible placement of GFS’ SpaceSaver Air Heater, which can be positioned either horizontally atop or vertically alongside the Edge Paint Booth, maximizes airflow without increasing the overall product footprint the way other air heaters do. Additionally, SpaceSaver has a higher airflow rate than comparable air heater models, giving GFS Edge improved performance. 

    Air moves into the booth through the proven Controlled Airflow Ceiling, in a downdraft or semi-downdraft configuration, producing excellent contamination control and even air distribution. 

    Visit GFS Booth #31067 at the SEMA Show, Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Las Vegas, to see the Edge Paint Booth in person. Step inside the booth and explore its numerous features, while seeing the control panel in action. GFS sales representatives will be on hand to answer any questions about the Edge Paint Booth and discuss how GFS Edge can improve the productivity---and competitive advantage---of any shop.

  • Goliath Carts, Hunter Engineering Win Best New Product Awards at SEMA 2023

    Goliath-Carts-Best-New-Product-Award-SEMA-2023

    The companies were winners in the collision repair and refinish and ADAS product categories, respectively.

    Hunter Engineering and Goliath Carts started off the 2023 SEMA Show with a bang, both being named winners of Best New Product awards, presented at the Kick-Off Breakfast before the show opened Oct. 31.

    Goliath Carts took top honors in the collision repair and refinish category for its destructive test weld stand, while Hunter won the ADAS Product category for its Ultimate ADAS.

    Collision Repair & Refinish Winner

    Goliath-Carts-SEMA-2023-Best-New-Product-Award
    Diez shows off the award-winning stand in Goliath Carts' booth.

    Dito Diez, lead engineer and owner of Goliath Carts, said his company developed the destructive test weld stand after being challenged by Mike Anderson, president of Collision Advice, and his Spartans Group. Anderson is a big proponent of destructive test welding, saying not doing it as part of the repair process “would be like an automaker not doing vehicle crash testing before selling a new model of vehicle.”

    Goliath Carts worked with a focus group of about 10 of the best shops in Anderson’s group to figure out what features were necessary.

    The result is a stand that can be bolted to the ground or a bench, or a mobile version that can be moved from vehicle to vehicle, Diez said. The stand has a wet/dry box to hold hot coupons after welding, and a white board where photos and other information can be tracked for insurance purposes. A cubby holds tools like the welding gun tip and pliers, and a table holds odds and ends.

    The most important feature is an articulating coupon holder, Diez said, that can handle multiple thicknesses and sizes, and moves up and down and around the post.

    “It can do all of the types of welds in all of the positions, and that’s the important thing,” Diez said. “You can overlay them, lay them side to side, put a plate behind them. Anything you can think of as far as performing a test weld, you can do on this thing.”

    Diez said it was exciting to hear his company’s name called as the award winner.

    “We’re just fortunate that Mike Anderson and his group gave us the challenge,” Diez said. “We met the challenge and we’re very excited to win the award and to be associated with the Spartans Group.”

    The destructive test weld stand is in stock and available now.

    Hunter-Engineering-SEMA-2023-Best-New-Product-Award
    Kaleb Silver, second from left, director of product management, and Tommy Maitz, third from left, marketing director, accept the Best New Product Award in the ADAS product category for Hunter Engineering's Ultimate ADAS.

    ADAS Product Winner

    Hunter Engineering won the ADAS Product category for its Ultimate ADAS, eliminating the error-prone manual layouts traditionally associated with static ADAS calibrations. 

    The system seamlessly integrates Hunter's renowned alignment technology with an efficient guided target placement system, delivering comprehensive around-the-vehicle coverage. The pivotal component of this technology is the gimbal-mounted lasers, which replace the imprecise guesswork of strings, plumb bobs and tape measures. This advancement results in an impressive 70% reduction in setup time for certain procedures.

    "It's named Ultimate ADAS for a reason," said Ryan Gerber, Hunter product specialist for ADAS. "It's the fastest and most precise ADAS calibration system available."

    Hunter-Engineering-SEMA-2023-Best-New-Product-Award
    Hunter Engineering had its Ultimate ADAS system on display in its 8,000-square-foot booth.

    "All of Hunter is so proud to win the SEMA New Product Award for Ultimate ADAS," said Pete Liebetreu, vice president of product management and marketing. "Bringing this innovative product to market took a huge team of engineers, developers, U.S.-based manufacturing and of course, the interest of our customers and partners. It was a huge effort and the team at Hunter is very proud of this prestigious recognition."

    Ultimate ADAS is currently exclusively available to Hondaand Acuradealers, with plans to expand its availability to other OEMs in 2024.

    For additional information on Ultimate ADAS, visit Hunter Engineering's website.

  • How to Get Entry-Level Collision Repair Techs Productive Quickly

    Dara-Goroff-I-CAR-curriculum-entry-level-collision-repair-technicians

    At the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Las Vegas in November, Jim Guthrie of the Car Crafters chain of collision shops in New Mexico discussed the success his company was having with quickly getting entry-level apprentices basic skills they put to use working within the shop while their training continues.

    “It’s a way they can earn while they learn,” Guthrie said.

    Guthrie's company is using the Entry-Level Technician Learning and Development Guide developed by I-CAR. Dara Goroff of I-CAR said the curriculum was created after talking to the industry about what would help someone entering the trade “feel immediately of value in your shop.”

    It focuses on five core skills: assembly, disassembly, small dent repair, plastic repair and prep for refinishing.

    Goroff said it is the start of a broader I-CAR initiative to provide a solution for those looking to attract, mentor, train and retain technicians, and will include both mentorship and apprenticeship guides that take into account how younger potential technicians want to learn.

    “A lot of the folks who thrive in collision repair really are not book learners,” Goroff said during the discussion at CIC. “They’re not video learners. They want to do, as well as either read or watch something, before they’ve learned it. 

    "The mentorship and apprenticeship guides will truly help somebody learn something and put hands to wrench, put hands to metal, and actually do something," Goroff continued. "Which builds the skill of the learner, builds their confidence in what they’re doing, and makes them feel a sense of pride, which goes directly to a shop’s ability to retain that individual in the career, or a school’s ability to ensure that once a student shows up in a shop, their transition from learning to working is much, much smoother.”

    When Guthrie, current chairman of I-CAR’s board of directors, was asked how a shop could get started training entry-level technicians as he’s doing in his business, he suggested calling Goroff.

    “Her program is awesome,” Guthrie said. “It will teach you a very simple theoretical skill, and then you can go right into the shop and become productive.”

    School Involvement Key for Collision Repair Industry

    Brandon-Eckendrode-CREF-entry-level-technicians-CIC
    Brandon Eckenrode of CREF said shops need to communicate to schools what entry-level skills they want in students coming out of the program.

    Another panelist, Brandon Eckenrode of the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), said just as I-CAR’s program to help shops get entry-level employees quickly trained in five skills, the value of that approach needs to reach the high school and college collision repair training programs as well. 

    CREF can help shops get on the advisory board of a local school, Eckenrode said, to talk to instructors and students so they know “what skillsets they’re looking for as an employer that will make [students] more productive as an entry-level employee, as opposed to the detrain and retrain that we’ve heard many people have to do because of whatever education they might be getting inside their school.”

    While schools are often required as part of accreditation to provide students with at least an introduction to a wide variety of skills, they also need to understand “when you come in on day one to work in my company, here are the things that we would love for you to be able to do, as opposed to that mile-wide, inch-deep learning philosophy,” Eckenrode said.

    He said CREF is also helping connect schools with shops willing to save their parts so students have current model parts to practice on.

    “We also hear time and time again that [shops] need to go talk with the administration, the deans, the principals, so that they know there’s this industry out there that’s waiting for their students [and] there’s great earning potential there,” Eckenrode said.

    CREF represented the industry at the American School Counselor Conference this past summer, he said, and counselors told him, “We get it. We need to embrace technical education more.” So CREF is working to create resources those counselors can use “when they’re talking with a student, so they can showcase this as a viable option for them, and what the different opportunities are.” 


    Preview of Next CIC

    CIC will next meet---as its newly-adopted slogan states, to “Connect. Influence. Collaborate.”---on Jan. 19 in Palm Springs, CA. 

    Among the speakers will be an attorney discussing what shops need to understand about protecting customers’ personal data. It’s a topic that’s been a focus of a CIC committee for some time as it digs into the issue of a shop’s estimate data somehow resulting in an entry on vehicle history reports.

  • How Will Results from SCRS ‘Blend’ Study Be Used Moving Forward?

    two-men-on-stage

    With the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ release in November of the results of its hands-on study demonstrating that blending of a panel takes an average of 31% more time than a full panel refinish---rather than the 50% less time allocated in the three estimating systems---the association was asked during CICwhere the issue goes moving forward.

    “Here’s the beauty of CIC: That’s up to you,” Aaron Schulenburg of SCRS said during the conference held during SEMAin Las Vegas. “Our goal was to capture data, and present it in a transparent manner, and to share it with the industry so you can have the dialogue you need to have. I don’t know where that occurs or how that occurs, but I think there’s a big disconnect between what we’ve identified and what exists today.”

    The study came about because the three estimating system providers each establish its own refinish labor allowance for any given panel, and while those labor times for the same panel may differ from one estimating system to another, all three companies use 50% as a blend calculation.

    “Our members have long challenged that,” Schulenburg said this past summer, before the study was completed.

    The association’s 35-page report on the study---which can be downloaded at scrs.com/blendstudy---details how it was conducted, with painters employed by each of the five major paint companies following their company’s process guidelines for spraying both a full refinish and a blend panel using the same paint colors on new F-150 panels supplied by Ford.

    Across all colors, the average blend time among the five paint lines were between about 128% and about 134% of full refinish time.

    “What’s remarkable to me, with all the different [paint] companies and [their] different processes, is how close the [percentage differences] are among all of the companies,” Robb Power, senior manager of refinish solutions for PPG, said at CIC. “I would have never thought it would come in that close. To me, that adds validity to what we see in those results.”

    Schulenburg said it’s clearly an issue that needs to be addressed with the information providers, who were invited to attend the SCRS study but who were “not present” over the two days. He said he feels it is an appropriate topic for CIC’s Paint and Materials Committee to address moving forward, but regardless, he said, it “can and should be addressed with the information providers [as] an issue that has been brought to them through our work with different associations…for years.”

    “That was the goal from the onset, to capture credible data, to have real conversation, that helps motivate positive change in the industry,” Schulenburg said.

    Attracting and Training New Employees

    Another panel discussion at CIC in Las Vegas focused on employee recruitment and retention.

    Jim Guthrie, president of Car Crafters, which operates five shops in New Mexico, said his company uses a “recruitment card” as part of its effort to attract new employees. Guthrie said all his employees have the cards, which include a QR code that can be scanned to link to the company’s “career page” where someone can fill out and submit an application.

    Guthrie said collision repair businesses can develop an internal promotion to encourage employees to hand out the card to potential hires. If a referred potential employee gets hired and stays for six months, the employee who handed out that card may get $500, for example, “and if they stay another six months, they get another $500,” Guthrie said. “Whatever the promotion is that you want to come up with within your own shop. The recruitment card has been a neat little tool for us.”

    Guthrie said his company tries to have six to 12 entry-level employees participating in its “earn while you learn” program, which uses a basic curriculum that “starts with the simple EPA/OSHA stuff, and then goes through bumper tools, door panels and bumper repair.” Students learn a skill, then can use it in the shop.

    “It takes somebody off the street, teaches them the basics, the theory, and then they go put it into practice,” he said.

    Once a student in the program can demonstrate the skill, and has the tools to perform it, they are “signed off for that particular function, whether it’s drilling spot welds or whatever.” Within two or three years, he said, students are “advanced to a point where they’re basically a B-tech. It’s a way they can earn while they learn.”

    Reasons Why Insurers Receive a Low Grade

    Also at CIC, John Yoswick of CRASH Network shared data from that publication’s annual “Insurer Report Card” survey, showing the reasons shops give some insurance companies’ claims practices a lower grade can be based more on the processes that insurer uses rather than payment-related concerns.

    The Insurer Report Card allows collision repair professionals to grade the insurance companies they interact with based on how well each carrier’s policies and practices help ensure quality repairs and customer service. The data shared at CIC, from a prior year’s survey completed by more than 1,100 shops, showed differences exist even among insurance companies receiving a similar grade.

    Not surprisingly, some of the reasons commonly cited by shops for giving an insurer a low grade were payment-related issues: an insurer seeks “unreasonable” discounts on parts or labor, or is viewed as “slow to pay.”

    However, many of the reasons are primarily process-related rather than payment-related. While only 3% of shops grading one insurer said they gave that insurer a “C-" or lower because they view that company’s claims staff as inexperienced or poorly trained, for example, more than one in four shops cited that as the reason they gave one of the other insurers a similarly low grade. Almost 80% shops said one insurer requires more digital images than other insurers, but only 27% of shops felt that was true about one of the other insurers receiving a similar low grade.

    These findings, Yoswick said, offer insurers “something of a roadmap for improving their relationship with shops without thinking that the only thing that would make shops happier is paying them more money.”

    Change in CIC Leadership

    Also at CIC in Las Vegas, Darrell Amberson was recognized at the end of his two years serving as chairman of the conference.

    “We want to thank you for all you’ve done because you’ve certainly raised the bar,” Jeff Hendler, a past CIC chairman who has been CIC administrator, told Amberson.

    “Together with our committees and chair people, we work to elevate our industry to higher levels of performance, professionalism, technical expertise and business acumen,” Amberson said of CIC in his closing comments. “I believe we are making a difference.”

    Frank Terlep of Auto Techcelerators will begin his term as CIC chairman at the next meeting, being held Jan. 19 in Palm Springs, CA.

Page 1 of 2

AkzoNobel Beta web graphic v2 600px

Shop & Product Showcase