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1HomePageMap small w 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in California, NevadaOregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming

The National Auto Body Council (NABC) held their annual golf event fundraiser on  January 11, 2012, at the Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort in Palm Springs, California. A total of 133 golfers registered for the scramble format. The event was able to raise $55,000 this year and was held in conjunction with the NABC’s open board meeting, which took place the previous day, January 10, as well as the Collision Industry Conference (CIC), which took place January 11, 12, 13.

The annual fundraising event plays an integral part in providing the resources that support the organization in its mission of improving the image of all dedicated collision industry professionals because it is a major source of funding for the group. Not only does it help NABC implement the programs and activities that define it and give shape to this purpose, it helps reduce the cost of NABC’s programs for participants, making them more affordable.

The fundraising committee comprised of current NABC board members worked together throughout last year in setting higher goals and expectations for this year’s golf fundraiser, success that translated into additional revenue. “Every sponsorship opportunity available was taken advantage of and every golf slot was filled equating to the higher revenue,” stated David Merrell, NABC golf committee chair.

In a letter to ‘Certain Interested and Affected Parties’ the California DOI has taken a second step to address concerns of collision industry stakeholders. In November the DOI’s legal division hosted a meeting to discuss proposed revised aftermarket part regulations. The results of that discussion are under review by the department (see http://tiny.cc/ydvp6). Now the DOI, under Commissioner Dave Jones, is taking on the issue of Labor Rate Surveys, DRPs, and Steering. Departmental attorney, Teresa R. Campbell has organized a January 25th meeting (10–12:00 noon at the DOI in Sacramento, and has drafted contemplated revisions to the California Code of Regulations, impacting Direct Repair Programs and Labor Rate Surveys. Steering is also addressed in language concerning insurer recommendations of automobile repair dealers. Although welcoming input and discusssion, the ‘rulemaking file’ will not be opened until formal notice is given by DOI and that comments must be submitted during the formal public comment period.

The language (complete text follows) proposes that insurers shall report the results of any labor rate survey within 30 days to the department which will in turn make the results available. The survey information will include names and addresses of the auto body shops and the total number of shops surveyed. The 16 current unfair claims settlement practices detailed in Section 790.03(h) of the California Insurance Code will be prohibited, including ‘failing to the attempt in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair, and equitable settlements of claims’.

Following are selected quotes from the proposed language:

For drivers in California, the risk of an auto accident is higher than many other parts of the country because California has more licensed drivers than any other state—more than 22 million drivers on the road. It’s no wonder then that there are close to 6,000 active shops in California, and more that do some custom or occasional repair work. While some also say California is also the hardest place to run a profitable shop due to legislative and othe factors, CARSTAR is looking for franchise opportunities in the golden state.

Last fall CARSTAR announced a new business development team, appointing Mark Behrens, Director of Network Development for California, and saying he would focus on expansion of the CARSTAR brand into California and adding new franchise partners to existing CARSTAR markets.

Now CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts has announced an agressive expansion effort in California to offer select body shop owners an opportunity to join North America’s largest MSO network with over 400 stores in the United States and Canada. As a member of CARSTAR, the company says franchisees can offer an array of services and products for collision repair, including the latest in repair technology, rental vehicles, nationwide warranties on repairs and turnkey service for their customers.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for body shop owners in the California marketplace, as the heavy traffic and enormous number of drivers create a constant need for quality collision repair,” said David Byers, CEO of CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts. “But it’s a competitive environment where store owners must meet strict environmental standards, manage insurance relationships and deliver high KPIs, drive sales and margin improvement on tight budgets and continually provide excellent auto body repairs. These store owners are looking for the business services and resources that only CARSTAR can provide, and we’re looking forward to adding a select group of these shop owners to the CARSTAR Nation.”

CARSTAR says that California shop owners who become CARSTAR franchisees will benefit from the CARSTAR Management Systems, which provide resources to improve key business metrics such as cycle time, participation in CARSTAR’s 17 corporately managed DRP programs and improved purchasing power from 44 corporately managed purchasing programs.

California shop owners who become CARSTAR franchisees will benefit from the CARSTAR Management Systems, which provide resources to improve key business metrics such as cycle time, participation in CARSTAR’s 17 corporately managed DRP programs, and improved purchasing power from 44 corporately managed purchasing programs.

Interested shops can also visit www.carstar.com for more information.

In a December 5 letter to California Senators and Assembly Members, representatives of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, The California New Car Dealers Association, the California Autobody Association, and Consumer Attorneys of California, voice their opposition to "Imitation" Aftermarket Crash Parts Legislation. The letter reads:

The above-identified organizations and signatories write to inform you of their collective opposition to legislation that promotes non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) crash parts as the functional equivalent of OEM parts. [Nonoriginal Equipment Manufacturer (Non-OEM) crash parts are parts made by a party other than the original car manufacturer without the dimensions, design specifications, tolerances or other information known to the original equipment manufacturer.]

Existing law requires insurers that compel consumers to accept non-OEM parts when vehicles are repaired to inform consumers that "imitation" parts will be used and to warrant the "imitation" parts are "of like kind, quality, safety, fit and performance" as OEM parts. For years, the insurance industry and off-shore, aftermarket parts industry have tried to weaken the law so they may compel unsuspecting consumers to accept inferior non-OEM parts.

We support existing law and oppose efforts to weaken it for the following reasons: Existing law promotes disclosure and fair repair practices. Too many non-OEM parts are clearly inferior to OEM parts. For example, see the Bureau of Automotive Repair study on this issue.

Also, Consumer Reports has debunked the argument that aftermarket "tin" parts are comparable to OEM parts. Use of non-OEM parts may impair warranties and reduce the value of used vehicles.

Vehicles are increasingly complex, designed to dissipate crash energy by collapsing as engineered, and rely on multiple sensors to immediately deploy airbags upon contact. The use of "imitation" parts may impair these highly-integrated functions and endanger passengers.

If approached to author legislation to unfairly promote the use of "imitation" crash parts, please contact us. We request the opportunity to discuss this important consumer protection issue with you before introduction.

Curt Augustine, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

Brian Maas, California New Car Dealers Association

David McClune, California Autobody Association

Nancy Peverini, Consumer Attorneys of California

Mike Rose's Auto Body, a group of shops in the San Francisco Bay Area, announced the addition of their eighth location on January 17.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to open a shop in the City of Lafayette. We will be able to make it more convenient for our customers in the Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and Rossmoor areas,” said Mike Rose, founder and owner of Mike Rose’s Auto Body.

This year marks the 40th year in business for the family-owned business operating in the East Bay.

The new facility is located in the heart of Lafayette at 3430 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette CA. The shop's hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the shop's Manager is Jason Laus.

The other seven facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area are located in, Walnut Creek (2), Concord (2), Pittsburg, Antioch, and Brentwood. The addition of the eighth facility will enhance the presence of Mike's Auto Body in the East Bay and enable Mike’s to bring complete convenience and flexibility to their customers and insurance partners.

Thursday, 12 January 2012 08:47

Nevada Texting While Driving Ban Takes Effect

Back in June, Nevada became the 34st state to ban texting while driving. Nevada also passed a law banning handheld cell-phone use while behind the wheel, although hands-free cell phone use (such as through Bluetooth) remained legal.

Officers began issuing warnings in October, although the law officially hit the books January 1, 2012.

Las Vegas police wasted no time in enforcing the state’s new ban on driving while texting or talking on a handheld device, according to Insurance Journal. Police Sgt. Peter Kisfalvi told the Las Vegas Sun that officers wrote more than 230 citations in the first week of the year.

Fines are $50 (first offense), then $100 (second) and then $250 (subsequent violations) now that the warning period is over.

Enforcement of the Nevada bans is primary, meaning drivers can be stopped and cited for that reason alone.

The bill behind the law, SB 140, was approved by Gov. Brian Sandoval, who had made it clear that he would support a statewide ban on text messaging while driving. The Assembly’s final vote came May 30, 2011, and the Senate signed off June 4.

Sen. Shirley Breeden, who authored the bill, added handheld cell phones to the 2011 version of the bill; her 2010 version failed to pass.

The Senate lowered fines to match the Assembly’s version in order to get the distracted driving bill through.