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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

As expected, California Gov. Edmund Brown has signed into law CA S.B. 869, legislation that amends current law regulating automotive repairers. The new law amends the Automotive Repair Act. It provides that an automotive repair dealer who prepares a written estimate for repairs that includes the replacement of a deployed airbag and then fails to restore the airbag, as specified, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine, one-year imprisonment in a county jail, or both the fine and imprisonment.
Because this legislation would establish a new crime, the bill would create a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act.

The San Diego chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) held their monthly members meeting on September 27 at 7p.m. at Tom Ham's Lighthouse in San Diego. The meeting's guest speaker was Frank Terlep of Summit Software and Mobile Solutions.

Frank's focus was digital marketing and how shops can better use digital marketing to capture more cars, customers and revenue.
Digital marketing produces exact, measurable results and allows customers to reach a more targeted audience than traditional marketing efforts. The cost is also dramatically lower than that of traditional marketing. Frank's presentation focused on how to use email, web, mobile and text services and social media to accomplish marketing for shops.

"82% of consumers will purchase a product or service from a company when marketed to consistently for 24 months," said Terlep.

The first order of business for shops to start taking advantage of the large amount of 'digital consumers'--people who regularly use digital markets--is to increase their web presence. Terlep talked about a few ways to go about doing this including using social media sites, review and location sites, and creating a company newsletter; however the number one way should be to have a complete and engaging company website.

"Treat your website like your online lobby," said Terlep.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011 14:18

California DMV Gets its own Reality TV show

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is getting ready for their very own reality show! The show is going to focus on the field offices up and down California.

The show will be called ‘California DMV: Field Offices’ and it will premiere on TruTV. The show is co-produced by new ‘Two And A Half Men’ star Ashton Kutcher. The show will look at what its like to work at one of the few state departments that touches nearly every Californian. The DMV show will shoot from several offices up and down California but there is no official premier date yet.

Billed as a "fun and fast paced" series, the countless mental meltdowns that erupt at DMVs around the country should prove entertaining for the home viewer. The show will focus on "hard-working personnel who deal with everything from issuing licenses and registering vehicles to maintaining accident records and investigating complaints."

California automobile dealers must start labeling salvaged vehicles with a red warning sticker under a new law signed Sept. 26 by Gov. Jerry Brown. A.B. 1215 will take effect July 1, 2012. The new law also requires dealers to use electronic vehicle registration for all car sales and allows dealers to charge consumers more to recoup added costs. About half of California's dealers already participate voluntarily in the electronic registration system.

Assembly Bill 1215 also allows dealers to raise their documentation fees for processing auto purchases and lease agreements from $55 for new- and used-car purchases and from $45 for car leases. The increase for dealers that participate in electronic vehicle registration would be to $75, and, to $65 for dealers that do not. Even with that jump, document charges in California will be the second lowest allowed in the nation. Registrations also will be processed much faster. Consumers will wait only a month for their license plates, instead of as long as six months under the current system.

Fees for participating dealers would be annually adjusted by the Department of Motor Vehicles due to changes in the California Consumer Price Index.

The law requires dealers to warn buyers whether a vehicle for sale has been previously totaled or salvaged. California law already requires the seller of a salvage vehicle to disclose to the purchaser that the vehicle has been declared a total loss salvage vehicle (Cal. Veh. Code 11515(h)(1))).

Under A.B. 1215, dealers are prohibited from displaying or offering for sale a used vehicle unless the dealer first obtained a report on the vehicle from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) to check whether the auto has a branded title. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is a database of totaled autos administered by the U.S. Justice Department.

Under most states' laws, a salvage vehicle is a vehicle that has been wrecked or damaged to such an extent that it is considered too expensive to repair. In almost all cases, salvage title is given to any vehicle that has sustained damage worth 75% or more of its value. Requirements are going to vary by state. In Florida, a car has to be damaged to 80% of its value before the accident. Vehicles in Minnesota are considered salvaged when they are declared "repairable total loss" by an insurance company, were worth at least $5,000 before the damage or are less than six years old.

The title, license plates, and a required fee are submitted to the state department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and a Salvage Certificate is issued for the vehicle.

Although many salvage vehicles are expertly repaired, some vehicles: are not properly repaired and/or tested and may be dangerous to operate and have been repaired with stolen parts. In California, if the Highway Patrol or DMV determines the vehicle or its parts have been stolen, the vehicle cannot be registered and the vehicle or parts will be seized. A revived salvage vehicle is one that was reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by the owner or insurance company as a total loss and now has been restored to operational condition.

All sellers, including dealerships, are legally required to disclose the vehicle's salvage title and history, but the law is difficult to enforce, especially when cars come in from another state.

The bill is supported by such groups as the California New Car Dealers Association, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) and the National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program. Opponents include CarFax, which publishes vehicle history reports.

"No other state can match the built-in protections and convenience awaiting Californians," Peter Welch, president of the state's dealers association, said in a statement. "Like every small business, dealers want to focus on customers instead of paperwork."

Consumers also will benefit from the new warning sticker requirements. California is the first state in the nation to adopt that mandate. All new- and used-car dealers must post a red sticker on any used car flagged in a federal database as junked, salvaged or flood-damaged.

"Consumer advocates have long sought the protections offered in this bill," said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. "For the first time, auto dealers will be required to provide vital information about a vehicle's safety, reliability and worth before consumers even start negotiating."

The California Department of Consumer Affairs has found that more than 700,000 structurally damaged and 150,000 salvaged vehicles are returned to streets and highways every year without a safety inspection, and pose a potential hazard to all of the state's motorists

The State of California currently "brands" its titles with a vehicle's past history as follows:

Salvaged: Vehicles marked with a "salvaged" brand were involved in an accident or incurred considerable damage from another source, such as a flood or vandalism. This brand includes previously dismantled (junked) vehicles.

Original Taxi or Prior Taxi
: Vehicles formerly used "For Hire" which usually have high mileage.

Original Police or Prior Police: Vehicles formerly used by law enforcement and which usually have high mileage.

Non-USA: Vehicles manufactured for use and sale outside the United States which have been converted to meet Federal and California safety and emissions standards.

Warranty Return or Lemon Law Buyback: Vehicles which have been returned to the manufacturer under California's Lemon Law.

Remanufactured; Vehicles constructed by a licensed remanufacturer and consisting of used or reconditioned parts. These vehicles may be sold under a distinctive trade name

Greg’s Auto Body, with two locations in Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, CA, hosted a firefighter extrication class at their Whittier location back on May 7th.

The CAA Pasadena/Foothill General Chapter meeting was held September 15, 2011, at the Brookside Country Club, Pasadena, CA, was presided over by Linda Holcomb, President. She announced that she and a few other members of the CAA had met with an AQMD committee about Rule 1147 recently. The rule would have required many shop owners to install expensive equipment to control noxious emissions. At the meeting, the CAA members succeeded in getting the AQMD to postpone costly regulations for shops.