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Western News

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

Maaco Auto Body and Paint of Fremont, CA, has been named a ‘Community Hero’ by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for its participation in a groundbreaking energy conservation program. As a way to conserve energy, Maaco-Fremont voluntarily allows PG&E to remotely turn off its air conditioning when demand spikes.

In its thank you letter, PG&E said that Maaco-Fremont’s participation in the program helped “ensure the grid’s reliability for communities across California ... When less electricity is generated from fossil fuel plants during peak times, fewer greenhouse gases are produced. This means cleaner air for everyone.”

PG&E reports that the program has saved enough energy to power 84,000 homes.

This is not the first time that Maaco-Fremont has embraced a green cause.

“In addition to our participation in the PG&E program we work to continually improve our processes and reduce our impact on the environment,” said Frank Barnard of Maaco-Fremont.

Their efforts began in 2007 when they converted their facility to have ultra-efficient lighting. The following year they installed new paint booths with super-efficient filtering to keep 99.5+ percent of paint pollutants from escaping into atmosphere and converted to low-VOC paints to reduce smog causing chemicals.

In 2009 Maaco-Fremont introduced latest “waterborne” paints in their “Factory Platinum” line to virtually eliminate VOCs with the best paints in the industry and the following year they converted 90 percent of the primer processes from sprayed-on to rolled-on. Process change reduced VOCs, health hazards to employees and waste streams

In 2011 they have also converted their landscaping to drought tolerant plants to eliminate need for watering.

Maaco-Fremont encourages everyone to do their part in protecting the environment. For more information visit www.pge.com.

For more information about Maaco Auto Body and Paint of Fremont, call (510) 745-9770 or visit them online at www.fremont-maaco.com. Maaco-Fremont is located at 37414 Centralmont Place, Fremont, CA 94537.

By Ed Attanasio

On October 19th, 108 golfers of all skill levels attacked Harding Park in San Francisco, a beautiful course that was immaculately maintained in preparation for the Schwab Cup Championship held several weeks later. The 14th Annual Harding Park Tournament brought body shops, insurers, vendors and supporters of the Northern California collision industry to enjoy a sunny day of golf, including networking and 18 holes of fun, followed by a dinner and prize giveaways.

Sponsored by FinishMaster, the Harding Park Tournament is a non-profit event that raises money for Young Life, an organization that mentors adolescents and helps them to be better people. Other sponsors contributing to the tournament were DuPont, PPG,  BASF, Oak Distributors, 3M Company, Norton/Saint Germain, Putnam Buick Pontiac GMC of Burlingame, Fiberglass Evercoat, LKQ, Last Call Marketing and Enterprise Rent A Car.

Putnam Buick Pontiac GMC of Burlingame sponsored a hole-in-one, featuring a 2012 GMC Truck as the prize and FinishMaster also sponsored a hole-in-one offering a $10,000 cash prize. Since no one even came remotely close to sinking an ace on either hole, the car and money are still extremely safe and should remain so for many years to come.

First place for the tournament went to Yong Chun Ko from Ks California, with James Berringer and Jeff Parker. The second place team consisted of Pat Bethel and Justin Lamonica. Ko is quickly becoming a collision industry golf icon, capturing first the Santa Clara County CAA’s tournament and now this event.

A California federal judge granted a joint plaintiff and defendant motion to dismiss an antitrust class action against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and other insurers Nov. 15, saying the plaintiffs do not have standing to sue several wholly owned subsidiaries of the insurance companies. The plaintiffs had filed a fourth amended complaint in July against State Farm, Allstate Indemnity Co., Geico General Insurance Co., Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. and the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA), a purportedly independent regulatory body created by the auto insurers, say the plaintiffs.

The complaint added the subsidiaries as named defendants and alleged that the auto insurers set up a sham organization to prevent competition over auto repair parts. U.S. District Judge James Ware said in the ruling that because the plaintiffs never paid insurance premiums directly to the wholly owned subsidiaries, they did not suffer any financial injury at the hands of the subsidiaries, and therefore have no standing to bring a class action against them under Article III of the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiffs filed suit against the insurance companies and CAPA in 2006. Named plaintiffs Sarah Perez, Michelle Lackney, Rachel Stewart and Rachel Hardyck alleged that the auto insurers violated California competition and antitrust laws because they exclusively offered policies that provided inferior repair parts, as well as boxing out other insurers. They further alleged that CAPA was created by the defendants to advance the scam and that it promoted inferior crash parts as acceptable substitutes for those from the original manufacturers.

In the first major policy meeting directly affecting the collision repair industry, representatives of Insurance Commissioner David Jones called a pre-notice public meeting for discussions on regulations regarding standards for reasonable repairs and the use of aftermarket parts on November 16th in San Francisco.

In preparation for the “pre-notice public discussions,” the Commissioner released a series of proposed revisions to the California Code of Regulations that was discussed and reviewed in depth at the meeting (See PROPOSED REGULATIONS in italicized text below). Commissioner Jones and his department plan to issue an official Notice of Proposed Action.

The meeting was chaired by Teresa A. Campbell of the DOI’s Legal division and attended by 50–60 invitation-only repairers, insurers, and representatives of both OE and Aftermarket parts manufacturers. In a letter to invited participants sent to body shops, insurers and aftermarket parts vendors and manufacturers, the Commissioner’s office wrote: “The purpose of these discussions is to permit certain interested and affected persons an opportunity to present statements or comments with respect to the attached draft regulations text.”

The Inland Empire chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) held a parts symposium meeting with about 217 CAA members, insurance executives and aftermarket representatives at the LKQ/Keystone warehouse in Ontario, CA, on November 9. CAA members came from several chapters in California. Featured speakers included CAPA's Jack Gillis, Bob Frayer of NSF Corp, Charlie Hogarty with the ABPA, and LKQ's VP of Government Affairs, Eileen Sottile.

Attendees were encouraged to take a tour of the warehouse with one of the location's representatives prior to the speakers' presentations. The tour walked guests through LKQ's wheel and bumper refinishing areas where second-shift workers were still working on reconditioning parts. Safety goggles affixed, guests were able to see technicians actively reconditioning bumpers and wheels to LKQ standards before resale to body shops. Tour guides detailed the processes the parts go through to ensure that they are not only visually similar to new parts but that they are also safe for resale. Networking opportunities and dinner were also available for attendees; Assemblyman Mike Morrell from the 63rd District also stopped by to talk with meeting attendees during dinner. Assemblyman Curt Hagman from the 60th District came to the event and stayed throughout the presentations.

Gillis began the meeting by talking about the Certified Aftermarket Parts Association's (CAPA) replacement parts certification process. Gillis outlined that CAPA requires several steps beyond just certifying aftermarket parts, including certification of the factory manufacturing the parts themselves, as well as regular inspection of the fixtures that are intended to mimick all mating surfaces from the AM part to the rest of the vehicle.

Thursday, 10 November 2011 09:34

Maaco of Fremont Named Community Hero by PG&E

Maaco Auto Body and Paint of Fremont has been named a 'Community Hero' by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for its participation in a groundbreaking energy conservation program. As a way to conserve energy, Maaco-Fremont voluntarily allows PG&E to remotely turn off its air conditioning when demand spikes.

In its thank you letter, PG&E said that Maaco-Fremont's participation in the program helped "ensure the grid's reliability for communities across California. . . When less electricity is generated from fossil fuel plants during peak times, fewer greenhouse gases are produced. This means cleaner air for everyone."