Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine
The re-energized Lehigh Valley Collision Repair Association is serving eastern Pennsylvania, including cities such as Allentown, Easton and Bethlehem. The one-year-old group comprises 18 auto body repair facilities, jobbers, parts suppliers, information providers and rental car companies, says its president, Matt Dewalt, AAM.
“Our mission is to promote the professional image of our industry through safe, quality and ethical repairs,” explains Dewalt, vice president of Scott’s Collision Centers, which is celebrating its 40th year serving the Lehigh Valley.
“We want to educate and lead our members to better themselves by allowing the free exchange of ideas and assist with ongoing training,” he adds. “It is truly an organization made up of members who want to better our industry.”
His father, Scott, a past and current member of LVCRA, started their business in 1971, and today the two locations, in Easton and Stroudsburg, comprise 34,000 square feet and generate about $5 million in annual sales.
The original LVCRA has roots at least 50 years deep and was very active in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, sponsoring golf tournaments, hosting monthly meetings and holding I-CAR and other classes, Dewalt says. At the time, Scott participated with his early shop, but membership dwindled and meetings stopped about 10 years ago.
Keenan Auto Body, a multi-shop operation with businesses in Pennsylvania and Delaware, held their 12th Annual Charity Golf Outing on June 3. Keenan VP and COO, Michael LeVasseur announced the successful outcome of the outing.
“I am very pleased to announce that we have raised a record amount of $28,500 for the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and the Russella Educational Fund. This was the first year that we chose more than one charity to name as the benefactor. $15,000 was earmarked for playground equipment for the PRMH located at front and Erie streets in Philadelphia Pa and $13,500 was given to the Russella Educational Fund, a fund set up for the children’s educations of Bernadette Russella, who recently lost her battle to breast cancer."
"This year’s outing was special”, stated Craig Camacho, Keenan Auto Body’s Marketing Director, “Bernadette LeVasseur Russella is the sister of Mike LeVasseur, Keenan’s VP and COO. It’s a great feeling when you can come together and help those who consistently
without fail help others. Mike is always there for everyone when called upon, it’s a trait his entire family lives by. I want to personally thank everyone that played a part and generously donated making our event a complete success.”
Electric automaker Fisker started the initial stage of a "comprehensive job creation program" during the last weekend of June, advertising for the first positions at the recommissioned Wilmington, DE, plant, according to reports made by the Detroit News.
About 120 engineers, electro-mechanical technicians and early teams of production workers will be hired this year, as Fisker prepares for the launch of its second line of production vehicles, a midsize premium sedan code-named Project Nina, at the end of 2012.
Please visit www.fiskerautomotive.com for more information.
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP-NJ) announced June 27 that the 35th annual NORTHEAST™ 2012 Automotive Services Show will take place March 9–11, 2012 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.
NORTHEAST™ 2012 will look to continue the success and industry praise it has garnered since the show moved to the Meadowlands in 2009.
“Every year we have taken another step up and improved all facets of the show,” AASP-NJ President Jeff McDowell said, “and the attendance, the industry response and vendors have all supported that fact. We are looking forward to providing another fantastic experience for everyone who attends in March 2012.”
NORTHEAST™ 2012 hours are: Friday, March 9, 5pm-10pm; Saturday, March 10, 10am-5pm; and Sunday, March 11, 10am-3pm. For more information on NORTHEAST™, please visit www.aaspnjnortheast.com for more information.
The Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia served as the site of the Waste Conversion Technology Congress 2011, on June 8 and 9.
The event was organized and hosted by London-based FC Business Intelligence and its EyeforEnergy division. According to EyeforEnergy, the event’s focus was on:
• Waste conversion technology, including case studies from global providers of waste conversion technologies;
• Financing, including private sector views on waste conversion technology investment and an update on the United States Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantees;
• International Project Planning, including strategies to mitigate risk, drive down costs and increase a company’s bottom line; and
• Project approval and development, from getting a project approved in a timely, cost-effective way to workable solutions to common project challenges.
In a notice to collision repairers in the state, the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) is warning shop owners that some Allstate managers are forcing their damage appraisers to institute new policies that are in direct conflict with Connecticut law.
According to the notice, certain Allstate damage appraisers have informed the association that their managers are instructing damage appraisers to disallow labor on any supplement involving “Labor Only Procedures.”
In addition, those same insurance managers are also mandating visual inspections on all vehicles before any appraiser can authorize repairs to start and are no longer permitting appraisers to accept body shop photos.
According to the notice, Allstate has further instructed these appraisers to disregard all documented procedures performed by a shop that did not wait for the required supplement inspection.
Two associations are serving the collision-repair industry in Pennsylvania. They are The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Pennsylvania, (AASP-PA) based in Harrisburg, and, in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Collision Trade Guild (PCTG).
The PCTG, led by Executive Director Ross DiBono, says it represents approximately 700 automotive-industry businesses, including collision shops, in its mission to achieve proper compliance and enforcement of legislation such as The Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Physical Damage Appraiser Act and The Pennsylvania Unfair Insurance Practices Act, as well as other consumer-protection laws.
As part of its educating mission, the Guild publicizes consumers’ rights to choose collision repair facilities.
“The decision of where the vehicle is to be repaired is the vehicle owner’s, not an insurance company’s,” the organization stresses on its web site. In addition, “It is the Guild’s purpose to bring accountability to the process of consumer claim handling and settlements in Pennsylvania.”
An affiliate of the national association, Minneapolis, Minn., based AASP, the 1,300-member AASP-PA comprises three divisions: Mechanical, Collision, and Towing.
A joint committee hearing was held by the Consumer Affairs and Transportation committees of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on "Right to Repair" on June 6. Testifying at the Philadelphia, PA, hearing were three panels of witnesses, including automobile maintenance and repair shop owners who expressed concern with so-called "Right to Repair" legislation that has been introduced previously in the U.S. Congress and several states. Neither the Congress nor any state has ever passed "Right to Repair" legislation.
John Francis III of Francis Automotive in West Chester, Pa., testified for the Automotive Service Association (ASA) emphasizing that automotive service information is already available to independent repairers and consumers. "At Francis Automotive, we use several third-party service information providers - ALLDATA, Identifix and an online service that includes technicians from all over the world, iATN - on a daily basis. As needed, our technicians will use automotive manufacturer websites. We have several aftermarket scan tools that we use and two auto manufacturer scan tools. Tools to perform reflashing are available for all makes of vehicles. It's a business decision regarding which tools to purchase. We have made a business choice not to purchase equipment to reflash BMWs and Mercedes. It is not because the tools and information are not available--they are available. But for our business model, we have chosen not to purchase this equipment."
Two auto repair facilities in New York were recognized by the Coordinating Committee For Automotive Repair (CCAR) as one of the group's GreenLink Shops for the month of May on June 1.
The GreenLink Shop status is an extension of CCAR’s CCAR-GreenLink Environmental Compliance Assistance Center and S/P2 Safety and Pollution Prevention E-learning Program--designed to promote consumer confidence in local automotive repair facilities’ environmental/safety awareness and stewardship.
The new GreenLink Shops are; Tedesco Auto Body, New Rochelle, NY and Wayside Auto Body, Jamaica, NY.
“CCAR is proud to recognize these newest members of the GreenLink Shop program and their commitment to best practices in environmental and safety processes,” said Daren Fristoe, CCAR president and chief operating officer.
CCAR requires that repair facilities seeking the GreenLink Shop recognition must maintain high standards of excellence in environmental, health and safety (EHS) practices in four categories including; business operations, employee training, safety compliance and environmental management.
For more information please visit www.ccar-greenlink.org.
The Click It or Ticket campaign will be in full effect with statewide overtime seat belt enforcement through June 4. Daily enforcement traffic safety checkpoints and saturation patrols will be conducted day & night by 24 state, local, and municipal police agencies statewide. Much of the enforcement will occur in the afternoons and evenings when the majority of unrestrained injuries and fatal crashes occur, according to the Milford Beacon.
Currently, Delaware’s unrestrained fatal crashes are out pacing this time last year. At this time last year 35% of the fatal vehicle occupants were not wearing seat belts compared to 46% currently.
Delaware law requires drivers and all passengers, including those in the back seat, to wear a seat belt. An officer can pull over a driver if he sees any person in the vehicle not wearing a seat belt, even if there is no other violation. Officers will be issuing citations for seat belt violations as part of a zero tolerance policy. The ticket, which goes to the driver no matter who is unbuckled in the vehicle, is a $25 fine plus court costs, which can eventually total as much as $70.
Participating agencies include Dewey, Dover, Elsmere, Felton, Georgetown, Laurel, Milford, Millsboro, New Castle City, New Castle County, Newark, Newport, Rehoboth, Seaford, Wilmington, Wyoming, and Delaware State Police.