Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia
The Florida Auto Collision Alliance (FACA) held its first-ever statewide convention and industry exposition May 19 to 21 at the Villas of Grand Cypress in Orlando, FL.
Vendors, technicians, managers and owners of repair centers across the state came together to examine best practices, new products,and efficient alternatives to conventional shop-management and supplychain systems.
The Florida Collision Repair Summit was held in conjunction with the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS)’s Improving Workshop Efficiency seminar. The co-sponsored program focused on the implementation of “lean” production practices designed to eliminate wasteful processes in body shop management.
The event drew in approximately 30 attendees in the classes, and 26 vendors set-up on the expo floor for the weekend, according to Cathy Mills, FACA’s executive director.
“The Summit was an excellent opportunity to network with peers, learn new skills, share expertise, and explore emerging products and services in the collision repair industry,” said Mills.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation will be presenting Lake Technical Center of Eustis, FL with a “Mini-Makeover” during the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) Thursday, October 6th in Orlando, FL.
Lake Technical Center was the only school in Florida that applied for the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s 2010 $50,000 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant. Due to the school’s proximity to NACE in Orlando, the Education Foundation has been gathering industry supporters/donors to fulfill portions of the school’s $50,000 wish list that they provided as part of the grant application. School instructors, administration and their collision students will be on hand during a presentation at NACE to showcase how the Mini-Makeover donors have benefited the school’s collision program.
The presentation will take place from 1 p.m.-2 p.m. in the ASRW Media Center located inside the Orange County Convention Center’s West Building.
Scott Kruger, Executive Director of the Collision Repair Education Foundation, said, “Lake Technical Center was one of 52 schools nationwide that applied for the Foundation’s 2010 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant and the only school in the state of Florida to apply. As industry professionals from across the country will be gathering in Orlando for NACE this fall, we thought it would be a great opportunity to not only highlight the Makeover grant program, but also help this local school through the support of our donors and supporters. We invite industry professionals attending NACE and ASRW to attend the presentation to hear how Lake Technical Center’s collision program has benefited through the support of industry donations and to learn how to get involved with helping schools in your local area.”
Drivers in Florida and Georgia will be able to start ordering the new Nissan Leaf electric car on July 25— but only if they were among the 20,000 who made $99 deposits during a fall online reservation period, according to reports made by the Florida Times-Union.
Nissan has sold 4,000 of the all-electric sedans since February in its first market phase in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington State.
Now the ordering process opens to consumers with reservations in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina and Alabama.
The Leaf is an all-electric car with 48 lithium-ion battery modules, giving it an estimated 100-mile range.
The Florida Auto Collision Alliance's (FACA) Jacksonville Chapter held their 13th annual golf outing at Fleming Island Golf Course on May 26. The event was a huge winner for the group and another opportunity for owners, managers, support staff, insurance adjusters and vendors to build new relationships and rekindle old ones.
FACA’s generous vendors were particularly noteworthy participants and stocked the entire course with the very best food and drink.
FACA did an outstanding job with prize giveaways and ensured everything ran smoothly. The tee time was only delayed by 15 minutes—-not bad when you consider that more than 150 golfers had to be checked in and assigned golf carts before putting could begin. A big surprise was ex-NFL player Jeff Lageman defending the 16th hole, challenging all that came through to raise money for charity.
In the end, all went well and everyone had a great time and is looking forward to next year’s event. FACA issued a big thank you to Steve Carey, Cathy Mills and Dave McBroom for all their efforts.
For more information please visit www.facafl.com.
The Broward County (Florida) Board of County Commissioners presented the Emerald Award to Uniweld Products Inc., designating the company as Broward County's Environmental Business of the Year for 2010.
Uniweld Products, a U.S. manufacturing company, is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Established in 1949 on farmland in the Dania Beach area, the company has grown and expanded into one of the major manufacturers in the welding, HVAC/R (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration), plumbing, and alloys markets.
The Award commends Uniweld for its continuing adherence to strict environmental friendly business practices and green initiatives. David Pearl II, Uniweld's president, accepted the award on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011.
Sikes & Stowe Downtown Collision, the oldest independent, family-owned body shop in downtown Jacksonville, is currently celebrating its 85th anniversary.
Founder John E. Sikes Sr. started the business in 1926, his son John E. Sikes Jr. took over in the 1960s until his death in 1999 and grandson, John E. “Bud” Sikes III is the current owner.
The owners have always credited their loyal customer base throughout the years for their longevity of success, and are, as always, committed to the growth and development of downtown Jacksonville.
For more information please visit www.sikesandstowejax.com.
The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) July meeting was held on July 14th at the Crowne Plaza Perimeter Atlanta NW.
Patrick Delaney from Summit Consulting International was the night's guest presenter. The presentation centered on how to improve performance in your collision shop.
Delaney’s presentation covered how to measurably improve the processes that impact the most vital areas of your business—profitability and customer loyalty.
Delaney spoke about Production Management Foundations, Measuring in Order to Manage and Making an Impact. He also discussed how to set up production controls to address the following four areas; customer interaction, managing repairs, production processes, and administrative processes.
He explained the impact each area has on the production process and how these area can affect the repair planning process. Summit Consulting has a computer program to help shops with their production management.
Refreshments and food began at 6:30 pm.
The group also discussed the upcoming 15th Annual GCIA Golf tournament and the Property and Casualty Insurance Stakeholder Advisory committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 10th at 1:30PM in Atlanta (Location yet to be determined).
Please visit www.summitci.com for more information about Summit Consulting International. Visit www.gacollisionindustry.wordpress.com for updates on the GCIA.
According to the legal team for Gunder’s Auto Center in their well-known battle with State Farm Insurance, limited documentation surrendered by State Farm in response to a court’s discovery order revealed the results of the insurer’s infamous labor rate survey have been altered.
While the nation’s largest private auto insurer has not provided all the information demanded in the court’s order; the information they did provide is seen by many as the proverbial “smoking gun” and a strong indicator of an even more pervasive nationwide practice.
In review of surrendered documents it was found that response to State Farm’s labor rate survey submitted by Gunder’s Auto Center, along with other local competitors, had been altered by State Farm’s Estimatics Team Manager, Robert “Bob” Davis in an apparent effort to skew the results to best serve the insurer by lowering rates and allowances.
Ray Gunder states: “I am confident this is not an isolated instance and that this is the likely the reason they have failed to supply us all the surveys and other information as ordered by the court. For years, across the entire country, monies have been withheld from repairers under the guise of the so-called survey and “Prevailing Competitive Pricing” by State Farm and all those insurers who follow their lead. Such deceit and unethical business practices have earned State Farm many Billions of dollars in unjust profits. Billions that the consumer never received benefit of through proper and thorough repairs.”
Kia Motors America is ramping up its U.S. production at the manufacturer’s West Point, Georgia, plant. The plant will increase output from the current 300,000 vehicles per year to 360,000 beginning this September.
In a public statement made June 2 President and CEO of Kia Motors America, Ahn Byung-mo, said, "Kia is experiencing unprecedented growth in the U.S., led by the best-selling Sorento. And with demand for the critically acclaimed Optima currently outpacing supply we are proud to add the popular sedan as the second Kia vehicle on the production line."
In anticipation of the increase, Kia has just hired 1,000 new U.S. worker. Byung-mo hopes this expansion will keep up with the high demand for Kia’s Optima sedan and Sorento SUV, best-sellers for the brand. Kia’s Georgia plant will begin producing both models exclusively.
In April of this year Gunder’s Auto Center received notice whereas the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a lower court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of State Farm Insurance in Gunder’s claim of slander and tortious interference with a business relationship against the nation’s largest personal auto insurer.
Ray Gunder stated; “after considerable thought, counsel and discussion with family and close friends, and as a result of recent activities on other pending cases against State Farm I decided to proceed with submitting what is referred to as a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court requesting their review and opinion of the lower court’s ruling. As we continue to ‘pound that rock’ I see we are standing on a substantial amount of gravel… and as I’ve said before, we’re all-in and we’re too close to quit now and will continue until we either prevail or exhaust all opportunities to do so!"
A copy of the court’s prior ruling may be found at: http://www.courtlistener.com/ca11/26Fy/gunders-auto-center-v-state-farm/