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1HomePageMap small se 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia

Eddie Quintela, the shop owner from Delray Beach, FL, who wanted to know why GEICO was charging his customers a 10% deductible on their domestic OEM parts and other labor operations, regardless of fault, and in addition to regular deductible and/or applicable betterments, has been vindicated. Quintela was finally able to get GEICO to remove the deductible off one of his customer’s estimates.

Quintela, who owns Collision Concepts Inc., asked why GEICO was apparently assessing this fee in Palm Beach county but not in nearby Polk county; and why an insured driving a foreign made vehicle was not deducted 10% for OEM parts, but one driving a vehicle made in the United States was made to pay 10% extra for their parts. Other labor operations were defined as wet sand and buff and all clips and bolts. GEICO claimed it was customary in his market, while Quintela disagreed with proof from surveying other shops in the area. Collision Concepts is not a DRP for the insurer.

“Just want to say thank you to Geico for paying what is fair and reasonable to repair our mutual customer’s vehicle,” said Quintela, “It is a good start to what I hope is a new and improved relationship between Geico and all collision repair facilities.”

To view the full text of the email exchanges between Quintela and GEICO please see Autobody News January 2012 Edition or www.autobodynews.com, search ‘Quintela’.

ABRA Auto Body & Glass is forging ahead with its growth plans by announcing the opening of a full service collision center in Warner Robins, Georgia.

The newest state-of-the-art facility is located at 581 Carl Vinson Parkway in Warner Robins which is 90 miles southeast of Atlanta. The opening increases the total number of ABRA repair centers to 115 in 12 states.

Tim Adelmann, ABRA’s Executive Vice President of Business Development said, “This is an exciting time at ABRA. Our long-term growth plans are taking shape and we’re looking forward to serving the Warner Robins community. We built this repair center to make it convenient for vehicle owners and insurance partners to find a cutting-edge repair center in their neighborhood.”

The repair center is equipped with all the latest industry technology to maintain high standards and assure top quality repairs. Staff technicians have extensive experience and receive rigorous ongoing industry training.

Duane Rouse, ABRA’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Our increased presence in the Georgia market is part of the strategy to accelerate our national growth in 2012.”

The GCIA held their first meeting of 2012 on January 19 at the MAADA Headquarters in Atlanta.

The meeting’s speaker was Dave Gruskos, President of Reliable Automotive Equipment, a New Jersey company that provides repair equipment along with training. Reliable Automotive Equipment’s intention is to support new technology and provide their customers with the correct resources to repair vehicles consistent with manufacturers approved methods and procedures.

Recently, Dave presented at a well-received course during the 2011 SCRS Repairer Driven Education at SEMA. Dave discussed the new repair procedure when working with Aluminum and high strength steel to the 50 or so attendees at the GCIA meeting.

One thing discussed during the GCIA meeting was that heat is the enemy to high strength steel. Some manufacturer’s do not want techs welding at all on these vehicles and have developed ways to rivet and apply adhesives to perform the repair. Dave also talked about self-piercing rivets and flow-form rivets that have to be punched out, not drilled. Then adhesives are used in conjunction with the rivets to create a solid repair.

The equipment and training investment needed to perform these repairs is well over $100,000, not to mention the expensive rivets and adhesives. Dave also reminded everyone to follow the OE recommended repair procedures when working with these vehicles and use OEM parts. Many times the warranties are voided if salvage or A/M parts are used.

Attendees were captivated by the part of Dave’s presentation concerning air bag reaction time. Air bag reaction timing is measured in milliseconds and the timing is critical to occupant safety. Dave had a couple of videos showing the effects of a slowed reaction in air bag timing. The results were shocking; the air bag actually deployed late, the occupant’s head (actually a melon) hit the steering wheel and then the air bag deployed. The melon absolutely exploded. If this would have been a real person, there would have been serious injuries or even death.

For more information about Dave and Reliable Automotive Equipment please visit www.raeservice.com.

In other news, the GCIA will be performing their 6th Annual GCIA Labor Rate survey beginning on March 5. CSi Complete will again perform the survey. This year the group will survey the rate for repairing high strength steels. Since there are different repair procedures and equipment that must be used, the group wants to know what shops are charging for this type of repair. Please visit gacollisionindustry.wordpress.com.

Boyd Group Income Fund announced December 21 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Master Collision Repair, Inc., which owns a total of eight collision repair centers in the Tampa, Florida market area under the trade name Master Collision Repair. The acquisition is expected to be immediately beneficial to the Fund's earnings and cash flows.

"The acquisition of Master is very strategic as it gives us an industry-leading platform from which to grow in the attractive Florida market, further demonstrating our commitment to expanding our business," said Brock Bulbuck, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boyd Group. "MCR's business model and customer base are similar to Boyd's, which should result in a smooth integration with our existing business. Further, we assess that there is a tremendous opportunity for accretive add-on growth in Florida, building from the foundation and base of MCR. The acquisition of Master also further solidifies Boyd's leading industry position and enhances our opportunity to capitalize on the trend of U.S. insurance companies consolidating Direct Repair Program volumes and showing increased preference for dealing with large multi-location operators. The Boyd Group, currently the largest multi- location collision repair operator in North America in terms of annual sales and number of locations, continues to look for opportunities to grow its operation. We remain focused on successful execution and integration of acquisitions to increase our profitability and drive value for our unitholders."

The transaction, valued at approximately $11.5 to 12.0 million subject to working capital adjustments, was completed on January 4, 2012. Funding for the transaction was completed through a combination of cash, third party financing and a seller note. The Fund will not be issuing any new equity to fund the transaction and, therefore, the transaction will not result in equity dilution to unitholders.

MCR is a leading provider of automotive collision repair services in the Tampa Bay area, a market in west central Florida. With eight operating locations and additional locations under consideration, MCR generated sales of approximately $20 million in the 12 months ended October 31, 2011. The Fund forecasts that MCR will add annual Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization of approximately $2.0 - $2.5 million to its consolidated EBITDA, including synergies. Upon completion of the acquisition, the Boyd Group will operate a total of 175 locations spanning 14 U.S. states and 4 Canadian provinces.

To view the Boyd Group's expected North American coverage after the acquisition of Master, please visit: http://www.boydgroup.com/i/maps/BoydGroupMap2011-Florida.jpg

ABRA Auto Body & Glass, a Minnesota-based multiple-shop operation with locations in 12 U.S. states, announced on January 6 the opening of a state-of-the-art repair center in Roswell, Georgia.

The new facility is located at 740 Holcomb Bridge Road and increases the total number of ABRA repair centers to 113.

Charlie Drake, Vice President of ABRA's Georgia market said, "We are looking forward to servicing customers in the Roswell community. Our mission is to be the best auto body & glass company in America. Opening this center is another important step toward achieving that goal."

The new repair facility is equipped with all the latest technology to maintain high standards and assure top quality repairs. Staff technicians have extensive experience and receive rigorous ongoing industry training.

Duane Rouse, ABRA’s Chief Executive Officer said, “The opening of the Roswell center strengthens our brand in the Georgia market. It’s part of our overall strategy to meet the growing needs of vehicle owners and insurance partners throughout the region.”

For more information please visit www.abraauto.com.

On December 20th, Auto Angels, in association with The Mid Florida chapter of Florida Auto Body Collision Alliance (FACA), presented 12 reconditioned vehicles to a dozen local families at Victory Church in Lakeland, FL, to make for very special Christmas for all involved.

Cheers and tears erupted throughout the ceremony as keys to newly reconditioned vehicles were presented and the pre-selected and notified men, women and children were led to their newly reconditioned vehicle by an Auto Angel.

David Stewart, This year’s Auto Angels Chairman stated: “Getting twelve vehicles ready turned out to be a massive undertaking and couldn’t have been accomplished without the hard work and resources of many dedicated professionals; but the sacrifices paled in comparison to the feeling of accomplishment each of us felt in seeing the faces of the recipients. It was amazing and the true spirit of Christmas giving was felt by all. A special thank you to the Auto Angels’ committee, whom without their hard work and dedication, this very worthwhile program couldn’t have been possible."

The Auto Angle’s committee members include:
David Stewart, Chairman, Stewart’s Auto Repair
Ray Gunder, Past Chairman, Gunder’s Auto Center
Barrett Smith, Auto Damage Experts, Inc.
Cherri Surrency, Stewart’s Auto Repair
Nick McLeisch, Maurice’s Body Shop/Towing
Doc Jenkins, Jenkins Lincoln Mercury Collision Center
Michael Meisner, Meisner’s Paint and Body
Paul Hawk, Bernie’s Body Shop
Mike Maskolunas, Bartow Ford

For more information or on how you may participate in next year’s Auto Angels program, contact David Stewart @ david@stewartautorepair.com or call (863) 965-2030

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