Thursday, 26 March 2015 00:00

Steering, Aftermarket Parts, and Suppressed Labor Rates Discussed at GCIA's March 19 Meeting

On Thursday, March 19, the Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) held their bi-monthly member meeting at Maxwell High School. Refreshments were provided for the attendees by the school.

Principal Jeff Hall and Collision Director Butch Luther expressed their gratitude to GCIA and CREF for their recent donations, as well as the Atlanta I-CAR committee, represented by Gerry Poirier, for their $50,000 Makeover Grant in 2013. Howard Batchelor, Executive Director of GCIA, said the meeting went “very well.” He added, “I think those in attendance really enjoyed the meeting and learned what the GCIA is working towards on their behalf.”

Batchelor opened the meeting by discussing several of the association’s current initiatives. On March 12, Batchelor and Board Member Glenn Grey met with Timothy Butler, the GA Attorney General’s Chief Policy Advisor who serves as liaison to the GA General Assembly and the National Association of Attorneys General. The group “discussed several issues that are affecting GA consumers (steering, aftermarket/salvage parts usage, and suppressed labor rates),” Batchelor states.

GCIA’s Executive Director continues, “I showed him our 8th annual labor rate/material rate survey and how some insurers used a most favored nation clause to pay lower amounts than the PCP. We also discussed new vehicle technology and the cost for new equipment and training and the need to get a return on the investment. We discussed the need for qualified technicians in the future and that the shop warranties all repairs, not the insurance company, as well as the fact that some insurers are making the customer pay for their rental car until their claim is paid. Mr. Butler suggested that all shop owners and managers need to know their local representatives and educate them on the issues that are affecting the industry and consumers. We hope that Mr. Butler will be a resource in the future.”

Batchelor reminded attendees that CIC will be at the Crowne Ravinia in Atlanta on April 8 and 9. He also noted that SCRS will hold an open Board meeting on April 7 at 3PM and a Repairers Only Roundtable the following morning at 8:30AM. In conclusion, Batchelor disclosed that Mike Anderson will be the featured speaker at this year’s Southern Automotive Repair Conference, taking place April 17 and 18 at the Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi, MS.

Next, Batchelor introduced guest speaker Clark Plucinski, Executive Director of CREF, who spoke about the foundation’s beginnings and their efforts to aid automotive schools across the country. Plucinski said, “It took a while for him to find the proper way to help these automotive schools,” according to Batchelor. “The automotive program is very expensive to manage and really needs support from vendors and shops. [Plucinski] said they went from nearly a million dollars a year to over $13 million in donations last year. What his foundation is doing for the industry is tremendous.”

GCIA’s next meeting will be held Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at Rick Hendrick Chevrolet in Duluth, GA. 

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