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1HomePageMap small ne 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine

Banking and Insurance Department Commissioner Tom Considine left his post effective Feb. 10, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced on January 30.

Considine plans to return to work in the private sector, according to Insurance Journal. He will become the new chief operating officer of MagnaCare in March, after leaving the NJ Banking and Insurance Department. MagnaCare is a health plan management company. At a news conference in Trenton, NJ, Gov. Christie also nominated Ken Kobylowski to succeed Commissioner Considine. Kobylowski has served as chief of staff to Considine since 2010, and acting director of banking since last October.

Considine served as a vice president with MetLife legal affairs for 17 years prior to serving as NJ commissioner. Considine also previously served as a litigation associate at Connell, Foley and Geiser, a New Jersey law firm.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 22:19

NY Dealers Add $25B to Economy, Report Says

Dealers’ success this year seems to be spurring economic recovery along, at least in the Empire State. According to the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, franchised dealers in the New York metro area sold 403,000 new and used cars.

And as a result, their businesses injected $24.9 billion into the economy, while also providing nearly 56,000 Americans with jobs. Not a surprising number, when the study also showed that the average dealership employs 79 people.

These very same dealers also generated $1.71 billion in tax revenue to state and local governments last year

Commenting on these numbers, Mark Schienberg, president of GNYADA, said, “Our area’s auto dealers are an enormously important part of the local and state economy because of the revenue they generate and the jobs they produce.

“Directly and indirectly, greater New York’s franchised auto dealers provide nearly 56,000 jobs to area residents and are a key part of the region’s economic growth and development,” he added.

Moreover, the average dealership paid more than $4.1 million in payroll expenses. Besides providing jobs and selling cars, dealerships also pump money into the economy through advertising.

“An average dealer employs 79 people of which more than a third are in high paying jobs in the service department. Dealers also purchase more advertising than any other sector, providing a lifeline to many local broadcast, print and online media companies. Last year, area dealership advertising totaled $385 million,” said Schienberg.

The local economy also received another $253.6 million during the New York International Automobile Show. And nearly $24 million of this pot was formed by city-wide special events and public relations activities by OEMs, the organization noted.

“It {the report} includes a review of direct and indirect employment, personal income, tax collections generated by area automobile dealers and a review of dealership financial statistics and operations,” they continued.

Headquartered in Whitestone, N.Y., the GNYADA represents nearly 600 franchised automobile dealerships in the metro area of New York.

Federated member Hovis Auto & Truck Supply has opened its new Hovis Technical Training Center located at 1000 Champion Drive, Mercer, PA.

The 10,000 square-foot hands-on training facility is equipped with the most advanced tools and equipment and is dedicated to instructing professional service technicians about time-saving and problem-solving techniques. The center offers a fully equipped body shop with mixing rooms, prep deck and oversized paint booth, a 14-foot overhead door for heavy duty truck access as well as four-post and two-post lifts, a wirelessalignment machine, tire changer, balancer and diagnostic labs.

“The Hovis Technical Training Center is committed to educating automotive, paint and heavy duty truck technicians in a state-of-the-art facility, close to home, reducing shop downtime and travel expenses,” says Curt Hovis, vice president of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply. “We recognize the critical need to provide technicians with comprehensive instruction, technical materials and educational programs, and we understand they don’t want to travel across the country to get it. That is why we are bringing leaders in the industry to western Pennsylvania.”

The inter-high school automotive repair course for Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley High Schools in Wayne, NJ, won $10,000 in cash and supplies in the Why My High School Auto Shop Needs a Make-Over national contest at the end of January.

Students in the course created, edited and entered a video for the contest. Students from both high schools are enrolled in the course, the only one of its kind in the district where students from one school travel to another to attend class.

The video received 2,483 votes on Facebook, good for second place and only 118 votes more than the third-place winner.

The first-place school received 3,320 votes. More than 100 videos from schools across the country were submitted. Eight were named finalists.

The Universal Technical Institute Foundation (UTI), a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to support technical education in the transportation industry, sponsored the contest.

The schools' program will receive $5,000 worth of products from Snap-On, a manufactured of automotive repair tools and equipment, vouches for tires from Bridgestone and Firestone, and cash as their second-place winnings.

The Allstate Corporation announced January 6 that the Superior Court of New Jersey has entered judgment in favor of Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Company, and dismissed all claims in the franchise lawsuits filed against Allstate New Jersey.

Last year, three exclusive agents filed lawsuits seeking to prevent the termination of their agency agreements for failing to meet certain business objectives. They alleged they had franchise relationships with Allstate New Jersey and were protected under the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act. The plaintiffs' application to stop their termination was denied.

The court determined that the agents were not franchisees and have no protections under the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act. The court noted in its decision that the "insurance industry has never been found by any court in New Jersey, or elsewhere, to be home to an insurance company franchisor, or agent franchisee."

Allstate has maintained that exclusive agents are independent contractor agents and not franchisees. The court decision affirms the company's position.

Please visit www.allstate.com or call 1-800 Allstate® for more information.

Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced into the House of Representatives on December 30 a bill aiming to do away with the $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicle car buyers, titled HR3768.

Kelly, who owns a Chevy Car Dealership in Butler, Penn., has served in the House representing the 3rd District of Pennsylvania since 2010.

The bill, formally titled: "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the credit for plug-in electric drive vehicles", would amend the IRS code section related to the electric car purchase tax credit, to terminate the tax credit.

The $7,500 tax credit came into being in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA), whose main purpose was the bailout of the financial industry following the meltdown of Sept 2008. The credit was put in place by former President George W. Bush, and continued by President Barack Obama.

Kelly's personal experience as a dealership owner is suspected to have fueled his introduction of this bill. Kelly's dealership, which was founded by his father, was almost axed during the GM bankruptcy. When the Obama Administration Auto Task Force announced plans to shut down more than 1,900 dealerships, including Kelly's own dealership, his response was to fight the decision to close his dealership, in which he was successful.

Reports are that after avoiding shut-down Kelly's own car dealership took extra steps to shun the Chevy Volt, even going to far as to fire an employee who consented to GM's request that they bring in a Volt.

"I can stock a Chevy Cruze, which is about a $17,500 car and turns every 30 to 40 days out of inventory or I can have a Volt, which never turns and creates nothing for me on the lot except interest costs," said Kelly in October. "There is no market for this car."

Kelly echoes the main argument espoused by many anti-EV advocates—-that electric cars are simply toys for rich people. Kelly says that subsidizing the purchases of upper-income individuals is not the correct course of action to take during these difficult financial times. According to Kelly, the $7,500 credit goes to the "few who can actually afford to buy an electric car."