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Northeastern News

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

In a letter to State Farm CEO Edward Rust Jr., Don Harvey, of International Collision Service in Englewood, NJ, questions why State Farm does not acknowledge cost accounting programs and practices in setting paint allowance rates.

Harvey has previously contacted senior State Farm management to no avail. His letter follows:

Feb 15, 2012

State Farm Insurance Co.
Mr. Edward B. Rust Jr.
One State Farm Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61710

Dear Mr. Rust,

Please take a moment to look at an issue regarding customer satisfaction and a “Good Neighbor” responsible commitment to proper repairs.

Paint material has been an issue often questioned and not properly acknowledged.

H&V Collision Centers will open a fourth location in Saratoga County at the former Allstar Chevrolet in Saratoga, NY. H&V purchased the property in February and a formal grand opening will be held this spring. The new Saratoga location joins H&V locations in Troy, Queensbury and Colonie, and provides H&V with a base of operations in Rensselaer, Warren, Albany and Saratoga counties.

“We are very excited to be readying a fourth H&V location and equally excited to be moving into Saratoga County in 2012,” said H&V’s Vartan Jerian Jr.

“H&V has been fortunate to have many customers and friends from Saratoga County. This new, fourth location will move us closer to our customers in Saratoga and expand a coverage area that will allow us to bring in new customers,” added Jerian.

The new location for H&V will include 11 acres and 30,000 square feet and over one dozen bays. When completed, the facility will be the largest for H&V Collision Centers, and have a capability of processing 75 vehicles at a time.

An existing collision repair shop at the facility now includes 15 employees. Those employees will be retained. An additional ten jobs will be created. After starting as a two-man operation in the early 1970s, H&V now includes over 100 employees and collision repair technicians throughout the Capital Region.

H&V has seen steady and continued growth in recent years that has established H&V as the largest independent collision repair company in the Capital Region. H&V started as a two-man shop in a small garage on Oakwood Avenue in Troy in the early 1970s.

In 2006, H&V completed a major expansion at the Oakwood Avenue facility that added 6,00 square feet to the facility and some of the most modern equipment available. In 2008, H&V opened a North Country location on Quaker Road in Queensbury. H&V undertook its largest expansion, opening a major facility on Central Avenue in Colonie.

As part of that commitment, H&V became the first collision facility in the region to partner with VeriFacts Automotive, to provide independent, third party verification and review of work and repairs at H&V locations.

Mike Orso, President of the New York State Collision Tech’s Association (NYSCTA), has written a letter to W Va’s Attorney General Darrell McGraw expressing gratitude for his efforts in “protecting consumers relative to the sale and installation of, industry referred to; used, salvage, and junkyard-supplied parts.”

The letter is in response to the Automotive Recycler’s Association’s (ARA) complaint regarding McGraw’s use of the term “junkyard parts” to characterize general salvage parts. The comments and the lawsuit drew the attention of the Automotive Recyclers Association, which asked McGraw to stop using the term “junkyard parts” because the group feels it’s derogatory and misleading toward its members’ products.

The original reference was made by McGraw in a December 2011 press release announcing legal action against Liberty Mutual Insurance. In the memo the Attorney General’s office referred to recycled/salvage parts as “junkyard parts” and implied that recycled/salvaged parts are significantly inferior to new OE parts.

“We believe that this statement [implies] that salvaged, used and/or reconditioned parts are somehow unsafe and inferior to new OE parts,” says ARA CEO Michael E. Wilson. “This is simply false. Recycled/salvaged automobile parts are not “junkyard parts” nor are they classified as such under West Virginia statute. We have asked the Attorney General to clarify this statement,” said Wilson.

In a letter to State Farm CEO Edward Rust Jr., Don Harvey, of International Collision Service in Englewood, NJ, questions why State Farm does not acknowledge cost accounting programs and practices in setting paint allowance rates. Harvey has previously contacted senior State Farm management to no avail. His letter follows:

The New York State Auto Collision Technicians Association, (NYSACTA) announced February 2 it is alerting its members and the general public to the potential safety risks with the use of aftermarket crash parts, and is calling on all insurers in NY who specify the use of un-tested, unqualified, NON-OEM compliant crash parts to take corrective action immediately.

NYSACTA President, Mike Orso said, “I would think safety would be the most important element of any collision repair. Some insurers by their actions are putting their claimant or insured’s family in a vehicle that the [insurer] specified a repair with untested, at risk parts to save money. No one should be re-engineering a car after a wreck as it puts the consumer in damage as well as all highway users at risk. It creates un-due legal liability on the repair shop.” Orso went on to say,  “the rules are: Repair or Replace the vehicle after a crash. Meaning; return the vehicle to pre-loss condition. One issue here is that; there is no recall system in place to warn consumers that their vehicle may be unsafe to drive or that their families safety is in unknown, unpredictable peril should a repaired car be involved in a another crash. Consumers should call their repair shop or check their collision invoice to identify what parts that may have been installed that are aftermarket. NY State Law requires shops to note the status of parts used in the repair, i.e. New, OEM, Used, Aftermarket, Reconditioned or Repaired.”

In preparation for the AASP/NJ's 35th annual NORTHEAST Automotive Services show, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) held their first-ever NORTHEAST exhibitor boot camp on January 12. The AASP/NJ hoped that this would help exhibitors be more successful at this year's show. The three-hour seminar was held by Susan Friedmann, the "Trade Show Coach." Friedmann is an author and expert in training exhibitors on how to improve and get the most out of their trade show experiences.

“We really didn’t know what to expect when we first found Susan,” said AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell. “Her qualifications were outstanding so we didn’t doubt what she would bring to the table. We just weren’t sure how our exhibitors would respond.”

The AASP/NJ took surveys following the seminar; the outcome of these surveys encouraged them to continue to hold the bootcamp annually.
“Boot Camp was very informative,” one attendee replied. “It had lots of good information and addressed a lot of mistakes that everyone takes for granted.” Another added, “It covered all aspects of booth presentation at the show. Very comprehensive and well paced. I would recommend this boot camp to colleagues if they want to benefit their company as part of any trade show.”

NORTHEAST™ 2012 takes place March 9, 10 and 11, 2012 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center of Secaucus, NJ. For more information on the show and AASP/NJ, please visit www.aaspnjnortheast.com.