Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming
Gov. Schwarzenegger has vetoed SB 427 (Negrete-McLeod). CLICK HERE for discussion of bill.
The governor vetoed Senate Bill 427 Friday, Sept. 24. The legislation proposed by California state Sen. Negrete McLeod, D-Chino, had been introduced to crack down on airbag fraud but it also included numerous confusing amendments to the Business and Professions code, which previously only applied to insurers.
The bill included language that condemns perpetrators of airbag fraud, stating that those who “fail to repair and fully restore the airbag to original operating condition where the customer has paid for the airbag repair as provided in the estimate” can receive up to a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
The language of the bill also included restrictions for invoices, including the following requirements:
• All work done by an automotive repair dealer, including all warranty work, must be recorded on an invoice and must describe all service work done, parts supplied and crash parts installed.
• Service work and parts must be listed separately on the repair invoice, which must also state separately the subtotal prices for service work and for parts, not including sales tax, and must state separately the sales tax, if any, applicable to each.
• If any used, rebuilt or reconditioned parts are installed, the invoice must clearly state that fact.
• If a part of a component system is composed of new and used, rebuilt or reconditioned parts, that invoice must clearly state that fact.
• The invoice must include a statement indicating whether any crash parts are original equipment manufacturer crash parts or non-original equipment manufacturer aftermarket crash parts.
• One copy of the invoice must be given to the customer and one copy must be retained by the automotive repair dealer.
To view the California bill (S.B. 427), visit the Automotive Service Association’s legislative website, www.TakingTheHill.com. Click on the “Track Current Legislation” button, then follow the state legislation link.
This summer, Completes Plus, a full-line wholesale parts distributor based in Los Angeles, CA, moved their main warehouse and office space to a larger warehouse just a short distance from the original location.
To view a PDF of this article please CLICK HERE.
This meeting at Brookside Country Club by the Rose Bowl in Pasadena was the last chapter meeting of 2010. With the end of 2010 fast approaching and new rules taking effect, a major focus of the meeting was to help members gain an understanding of what SCAQMD Rule 1147 is all about and how it could affect them. The deadline for Rule 1147 takes effect January 1, 2011, and will have a major financial impact on many body shop owners.
One of the speakers on the subject was Wayne Barcikowski, a chemical engineer with 20 years at the AQMD, who wrote the Rule. The major concern for shop owners and managers is how permits required by Rule 1147 will impact them financially. Ms. Van Huong N. Phan, 23-year AWMD veteran and senior air quality engineer for the compliance office handled the questions about “Permits.”
Toyota has reached an out-of-court settlement with relatives of the Saylor family who were killed when the Lexus sedan they were driving sped out of control and crashed, , according to reports made by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Investigators attributed the accident to a mismatched floormat, which trapped the accelerator pedal, and put an international spotlight on the sudden acceleration concerns that later prompted the automaker to recall millions of vehicles.
Toyota confirmed the settlement September 18 in a statement but did not provide the amount involved or any other details.
“Through mutual respect and cooperation we were able to resolve this matter without the need for litigation,” the statement said.
The crash, which happened in August 2009 in Santee, CA, was dramatically documentend with cell phone evidence that drew international attention. A backseat passenger called 911 to say that the driver, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer named Mark Saylor, was unable to stop the 2009 Lexus E350, which went as fast as 120 miles per hour on a freeway before hitting another vehicle, going airborn and landing in a fiery crash in a ravine.
Mark Saylor, 45; his wife, Cleofe, 45; and their 13-year-old daughter Mahala died, along with Cleofe Saylor’s brother, Chris Lastrella, 39. It was Lastrella who told the 911 operator that the car’s pedal was stuck and ended the call by saying, “Hold on and pray.” The car was on loan from the nearby Bob Baker Lexus dealership while Saylor’s car was being repaired.
The settlement has left out co-defendant Bob Baker Lexus, a move by the automaker that could set the stage for a potentially damaging fight with its own dealers over who is to blame for sudden acceleration incidents.
“Toyota has sought to protect only its own interests. They decided to cut out their own dealer,” said Larry Willis, attorney for Bob Baker Lexus.
The settlement, according to Toyota’s statement, resolves product liability claims by the Saylor and Lastrella families against Toyota and the dealership. The families have separate claims against the dealership that were not covered.
Two months after the crash, Toyota began a recall that eventually covered 5.4 million vehicles globally in which the automaker said the driver-side floormat could trap the accelerator pedal.
It later recalled 4.5 million vehicles in which the pedals themselves were determined to be defective. Some vehicles were covered by both recalls, for a total of about eight million vehicles.
In February, Toyota’s chief executive, Akio Toyoda, apologized to Congress and to the Saylor family, saying he would “do everything in my power to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.”
The recalls hurt Toyota’s sales and damaged its reputation for building high-quality, reliable vehicles. Thousands of complaints poured in to federal regulators from drivers who said their Toyota-made vehicles accelerated suddenly. In April, the government fined Toyota a record $16.4 million for waiting too long to initiate a recall. The complaints are tied to at least 93 deaths.
Toyota is continuing to defend itself against class-action lawsuits filed by Toyota owners and relatives of people who died in crashes alleged to have resulted from sudden acceleration. The company could face billions of dollars in liabilities if it loses the cases.
Preliminary results released in August from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigation into the sudden-acceleration complaints revealed that in many of the crashes the vehicles’ on-board data recorders showed no evidence that the drivers had used the brakes.
The findings suggest that some drivers were mistakenly pressing on the accelerator pedal instead of the brake.
To read previously published articles on this subject go to www.autobodynews.com, search “Saylor.”
Every year the CAA Trade Faire provides an opportunity for CAA members, vendors, body shop and dealership personnel to network, learn more about the industry and re-connect with old friends. On September 15, the CAA Santa Clara chapter’s Trade Faire was held at the Holiday Inn Airport in San Jose, Calif., an event that is more than 20 years old and unique to this CAA chapter in the Bay Area.
Dave Mello, the lifetime treasurer for the CAA Santa Clara’s chapter, was very pleased to see a good turnout for this year’s faire. “We had more than 160 members and associates and 38 vendors on hand to make it a great Trade Faire once again,” said Mello, owner of Andersen Behl Body Shop in Santa Clara said.
“It’s a great night, because body shop professionals and vendors alike can network free-form, as opposed to sitting at a dinner and listening to a speaker. This way, people can interact in their own way in an environment without a schedule or an agenda.”
Vendors featuring computers, software, frame equipment, paint, clips and hardware, legal aid, welders, infrared lamps, paint gun cleaners, car rentals, first aid supplies, radiators and more displayed their products and/or services at the CAA Santa Clara Trade Faire. More than $5,000 in prizes was raffled off during the event, Mello said.
In a legislative move that has split the two California collision repair associations, California lawmakers approved SB 427 (Negrete, McLeod) which redefines the term "crash part" and increases the penalty on the failure to repair and fully restore an airbag to original operating conditions. The bill was supported by the American Insurance Association (AIA). “AIA feels confident in the language and the protections it will offer our members’ policyholders,” said Gibford.
This bill would define and redefine "crash part," "aftermarket crash part," and "original equipment manufacturer crash part," for purposes of the act and the motor vehicle replacement part provisions.
The bill specifies that an automotive repair dealer who prepares a written estimate that includes replacement of a deployed airbag and who fails to repair and fully restore the airbag where the consumer has paid for the repair, as specified, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both.
The bill would require the invoice for work done by an automotive repair dealer to describe all service work done, parts supplied, and crash parts installed. The bill would make a statement of legislative intent regarding this requirement.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a measure August 30 allowing tens of thousands more Californians with environmentally friendly cars to drive solo in carpool lanes according to reports made by the LA Times and 10 News San Diego.
Lawmakers worked late into the night August 30, the second to last day of the 2009-10 legislative session. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took some action of his own, signing into law a measure expanding the list of environmentally friendly cars that qualify for permits to use carpool lanes.
The measure will allow up to 40,000 more California motorists to drive solo in the special lanes. It also extends the lifespan of existing permits for hybrid and electric vehicles. The bill, SB 535 by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by General Motors, would provide thousands of permits for new models of fuel-efficient cars.
The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, Inc. (AIAM) supports passage of a bill by the California legislature to reduce copper dust from vehicle brake pads that can wash into urban watersheds. AIAM members worked closely with California lawmakers, industry organizations, municipal water agencies and environmental groups on SB 346 to find an approach to brake pad reformulation that protects the environment without compromising public safety.
“We believe SB 346 provides a balanced approach to achieving California’s environmental goals while maintaining vehicle brake safety,” said Michael J. Stanton, president and CEO of AIAM.
“Brake dust” can contain copper and other materials and is created by friction when the brakes are applied. SB 346, authored by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), sets limits on the amount of copper used in brake pads starting in 2021. By 2025 there will be a virtual ban of the mineral. Owners of vehicles designed with brake pads containing copper will have access to replacement parts for the life of their cars.
“The bill establishes a challenging goal that we and our suppliers are committed to meeting,” said Stanton. “We thank Senator Kehoe for all that she has done to bring the various parties together on this bill.”
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is considering a recent court decision a victory for consumers, as a lawsuit that attempted to stop the Commissioner from protecting Californians in connection with the Executive Life Insurance Co. was dismissed by the Court, according to reports made by Insurance Journal.
Last year, the Commissioner denied a request for permission to buy a California insurance company from a foreign company whose owner is the defendant in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit brought by Commissioner Poizner.
The sale would have siphoned money out of the United States while a federal court is in the process of determining how much that owner, French company Artemis S.A., ought to pay in compensation for previous fraud, according to the Commissioner. The proposed seller in the transaction, Artemis subsidiary Aurora S.A., subsequently sued the Commissioner for denying the transaction. A court rejected that lawsuit.
“It’s my job to protect policyholders, and when I saw the harm this transaction could cause to former Executive Life Insurance Co. policyholders, I refused to allow it,” said Commissioner Poizner.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charlotte Woolard rejected the lawsuit against Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, ruling that Commissioner Poizner acted properly when he denied approval of a sale transaction that had the potential to cause harm to former policyholders of Executive Life Insurance Co.
The suit is part of the on-going fallout resulting from the failure of Executive Life in 1991 and the massive fraud that was committed by French companies and companies owned by the French government in the subsequent insolvency proceeding.
The lawsuit concerned an attempt by Reassure America Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of insurance giant Swiss Re, to purchase Aurora National Life Assurance Co. Aurora National is the life insurance company that was set up in 1992 to take over insurance policies from the insolvent Executive Life.
When it was established in 1992, Aurora National was purportedly owned by a consortium of French and Swiss companies. In 1999, the Commissioner learned that the ownership of Aurora National was a fraud and the true owner was a French government-owned bank, in violation of California and federal law.
The Commissioner sued in federal court in Los Angeles and recovered more than $700 million to date for former Executive Life policyholders. The lawsuit is still pending against one of the defendants, French company Artemis S.A.
While the Commissioner’s fraud lawsuit is pending against Artemis, Reassure America filed for permission to buy Aurora National from Aurora S.A. The timing of the sale would get Artemis’s share of the sale money to France, out of the reach of the Commissioner before he could obtain a judgment against Artemis in federal court. Artemis’ share of the sale will be paid to former Executive Life policyholders if the Commissioner wins his suit against Artemis.
The Commissioner denied the application on the grounds that the sale would harm former Executive Life policyholders and Reassure America demonstrated a lack of integrity in attempting to conclude the sale now, when it knew that harm would occur to its own policyholders.
Judge Woolard agreed, ruling that it was not an abuse of discretion for the Commissioner to consider the interests of Executive Life policyholders in his decision.