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1HomePageMap small sw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, ColoradoTexas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana

Oklahoma-based car rental company Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. raised its corporate adjusted EBITDA forecast for the full-year 2010 on September 7, citing strong operating performance in the months of July and August, and the continuing projections of lower fleet costs. The company also provided an update on fiscal 2011 outlook.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company raised its fiscal 2010 forecast for corporate adjusted EBITDA, excluding merger-related expenses, to a range of $240 million to $260 million from the prior guidance in the range of $200 million to $220 million. The company had earlier raised it guidance in early July.

Dollar Thrifty attributed the increase to projected lower fleet costs, and the continued strength in operations and ongoing cost control efforts at the company.

The company also noted that it continues to expect vehicle rental revenue for the full year of 2010 to increase 1% to 2% from last year. Meanwhile, the company lowered its expected fleet cost target to a range of $230 to $240 per unit per month from the prior forecast of $245 to $255 per unit per month.

Meanwhile, the company also lowered its estimate for vehicle depreciation per unit per month to a range of $270 to $290 for the third and fourth quarters of 2010 from $300 to $310 per unit per month, citing continued strength in residual values and favorable trends in vehicle disposition results.

For fiscal 2011, Dollar Thrifty reaffirmed its previously announced fleet cost estimate of $300 to $310 per unit per month. The is expected to lead to corporate adjusted EBITDA for the full-year 2011 to range between $186 million and $198 million.

The company added that it expects the used car market in 2011 to be based on solid fundamentals, though less robust than now, as demand for used cars is expected to be firm, while supply is expected to be somewhat constrained.

Car rental companies are slowly recovering from the recession, which battered demand from business and leisure customers, after having struggled in recent years due to reduced travel budgets, falling used-car prices and large debt loads.

DTG closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $47.04, down $0.69 or 1.45% on a volume of 1.18 million shares, higher than the three-month average volume of 0.89 million shares.

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announced August 16 the approach of its fifth annual Affiliate Leadership Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, September 22 and 23 at the Gulf States Toyota (GST) Training Center in Lewisville, Texas. The modern, state-of-the-art facility will provide a stimulating backdrop for the open discussion of activities, successes and challenges that is the conference’s hallmark.

“Our affiliate ranks recently have grown at an accelerated rate and we expect event participation to increase significantly as a result,” says SCRS Chairman Barry Dorn. “It’s exciting, because for the first time many collision repair professionals will get to witness the effective strategies that are forged when SCRS’ national perspective intermingles with the local, grass roots focus of the affiliates.”

The “ground level” industry view of the affiliates forms the bedrock upon which SCRS is formed and keeps the organization attuned to membership needs. The Affiliate Leadership Conference is perhaps the ultimate reflection of this aspect of SCRS.

Attendees gain exposure to, and learn from the experience of, their affiliate peers in other states as does SCRS. Local initiatives often contribute to the formation of solutions that can be applied elsewhere, including on the national level.

“The conference features collective insight to address issues you won’t find anywhere else, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to foster it,” says SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “Our affiliates and the thousands of businesses that support them want workable solutions to trying issues.

The Affiliate Leadership Conference provides the content, context and analysis to provide those answers through candid discussion bred from a forum structured specifically for our affiliate associations.”

The conference will maintain a similar proven format to previous years, with the first day featuring a focused review from each association in attendance. Local market issues and successful approaches to resolving those issues will be reviewed and analyzed through candid peer discussion.

Day two will feature updates from SCRS on its most recent national level activity, targeted discussions on prevailing industry issues, and a conversation on how SCRS can better help assist the collision repair industry. Toyota will make a presentation on Auto PartsBridge™, an electronic parts ordering system that allows body shops to send parts orders to Toyota dealers through a Web-based application.

In addition, CEICA Executive Director Fred Iantourno will join the group to share content from the CEICA Implementation Conference being held the two days preceding the SCRS conference.

“This dynamic forum for experienced affiliate leadership generates an incredible amount of useful content over the course of two days,” adds Schulenburg. “I advise anyone that hasn’t previously attended to bring a pen and the biggest notepad you can find-you will be taking a lot of notes!”

For information about the upcoming Affiliate Leadership Conference, please contact Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg at (302) 423-3537 or via e-mail at aaron@scrs.com. You may also contact the SCRS administration office at (877) 841-0660 or via e-mail at info@scrs.com.

The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association held their monthly meeting on August 3 at the Shreveport, LA, Country Tavern, and discussed recycling techniques among several other industry issues.

Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin issued a bulletin Aug. 2 reminding insurers writing PC insurance about their responsibilities under the state’s steering laws. The notification also specifically stated that it is an “unfair claim settlement practice for insurers to pay claimants an amount for the repair of the vehicle, including parts, that is not a reasonable amount for repairing or replacing the property with other of like kind and quality.”

According to reports made by Insurance Journal, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has appointed John G. Franchini Superintendent of Insurance by a 4-1 vote. Franchini, a New Mexico native, boasts nearly four decades of insurance industry-related experience and said he looks to use that experience to move the Division of Insurance forward.

"I've devoted the majority of my professional life to guaranteeing and protecting New Mexico policyholders' rights with regards to their insurance," Franchini said. "As Superintendent of Insurance, I will make sure New Mexicans have the protection, cooperation and assistance of the Division of Insurance in handling their insurance questions and needs," he said.

Prior to his appointment, Franchini served as vice president of government and industry affairs for the New Mexico Mutual Group from 2004 to 2010. Before that, he was vice president of Brown & Brown of New Mexico Inc., and from 1984 to 1988, he served as president and owner of Franchini Consolidated Agency, Polson Mercer Insurance & Real Estate, Williams Consolidated, Chama Insurance Services, Consolidated Mortgage, Franchini Travel.

Production of the Tacoma pickup truck began in July but was marked August 6 with a ceremony at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc.  The $100 million investment boosts total investment to $1.4 billion.

Texas Governor Rick Perry joined San Antonio community leaders, team members, suppliers as well as Toyota officials including Toyota Motor Corporation Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi.

Tacoma’s production move to TMMTX was announced a year ago and adds 1,000 jobs. Today, over 2,800 team members are employed at TMMTX and the plant is fully positioned to ramp up Toyota’s pickup truck production for the American market.