Retro News: October 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011

Retro News: October 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011

20 years ago in the collision repair industry (October 1996)

The fourth resolution approved at the event dealt with the responsibility of insurers, shops and vehicle manufacturers to provide vehicle-owners with information regarding the use of non-OEM or salvage parts in the repair of their vehicle.

“We, as well as the insurance company, have the responsibility to disclose to the consumer what he’s getting on his car,” Kansas City shop owner Bill Eveland said. He said his shop has customers sign a document that lists any non-OEM or salvage parts used in the repair, and explains that the shop cannot guarantee any such parts.

But others at the conference said it is also the vehicle manufacturers’ responsibility to educate consumers about the possible ramifications that use of non-OEM or salvage parts may have on the vehicle warranty.

Fred Fleming of General Motors said most vehicle manufacturers have or soon will have printed materials available that will help shops explain warranty issues to consumers.

“No one wants to be surprised on a new model vehicle that the driveline warranty has been negatively affected,” Fleming said.

The resolution approved called for insurers requiring or encouraging the use of non-OEM or salvage parts to notify vehicle owners in writing of this practice prior to authorization of repairs. It also called on vehicle manufactures to educate consumers about parts-related warranty issues, and on shops to notify customers of the types of parts to be used.

– As reported in Autobody News about the “National Leadership Conference,” a gathering of state association leaders from around the country. The automakers have continued to use consumer marketing and other tactics to stave off competition from alternative parts, although the percentage of OEM parts among all those used has declined over the last two decades.

15 years ago in the collision repair industry (October 2001)

Since the horrific events of September 11, I have spoken to many individuals about what has happened and how it might affect us in both the short- and long-term future. One of the issues that has been raised is the upcoming Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, scheduled for October 3 and 4. I have talked to several people who suggested we cancel the meeting, while others have pleaded to continue as planned.

We are not a nation of quitters, and while I completely understand and respect the apprehension one might have in traveling and congregating at a meeting, I also feel as though we must continue on. This great country was not built on trepidation and uncertainty; it was built on the will to live and prosper. In that light, we will continue on with our plans to hold the CIC meeting as scheduled in Alaska.

The meeting will be held three weeks after the tragic events of September 11. A time for healing and reflection is upon us now. We are a nation that will rise from this event stronger and more determined than ever, and the time to start that movement is now.

– From an editorial by Lou DiLisio, at that time the chairman of CIC. The meeting was attended by about 60 people, far fewer than the 200-400 people at most CIC meetings.

10 years ago in the collision repair industry (October 2006)

But the growth continued well into the 1990s, with the NACE trade show setting new attendance records each time it returned to Las Vegas: 22,517 attendees in 1991, 35,800 in 1994, and just over 41,000 in 1997, when the show also hit a peak of 656 exhibitors in a massive 277,500-square-foot trade show.

One of the positive outcomes of NACE’s growth has been the show’s ability to bring in some of the country’s most-coveted keynote speakers. They’ve ranged from political heavy-hitters like George Bush (2002) and Elizabeth Dole (1997) to sports legends like Fran Tarkenton (1994) and Lou Holtz (1992). Others came from the media world, such as Larry King (1998), Bill O’Reilly (2003) or Geoge Stephanopoulos (1999).

“It’s great being able to see people like Colin Powell (1996) or G. Gordon Liddy (1990) – that guy ran a chill up your spine,” Don Peers, now a retired Nebraska shop owner, said. “I’m not big on movie stars or singers or stuff like that, but anytime you get to see any of those people live, it’s impressive. If [Ret. Gen. Norman] Schwarzkopf (1995) announced that day he needed 1,000 volunteers right now to go into combat, I would have followed him out the door.”

– From a history of the NACE trade show, published in The Golden Eagle, October 2006. The event no longer includes big-name speakers as the attendance shrunk below 30,000 after 2004 (and under 10,000 since 2013). But show organizers say this year’s event in Anaheim, Calif., back in August marked the third year of growth.

5 years ago in the collision repair industry (October 2011)

At a day-long symposium for multi-shop operators held during NACE this month, a panel of MSO representatives was asked to comment on a proposition, espoused by an insurer in the United Kingdom, that businesses often “trip over themselves” trying to exceed customer expectations when they would be better off just ensuring that they consistently meet those expectations every time.

Brock Bulbuck, CEO of The Boyd Group, the Canadian firm that also operates 128 shops in the United States (including the True2Form and Gerber Collision chains), said the problem with that concept is that customer expectations keep rising.

“If you don’t strive to wow and exceed and set the bar as high as you can, I think you run the risk of establishing a culture in your organization where just doing your job is good enough,” Bulbuck said. “I don’t think that’s conducive for creating promoters (among customers) and growing your business.”

Caliber Collision CEO Steve Grimshaw also agreed that exceeding expectations is the key to differentiating your business from the competition.

But Cathy Bonner, president of the 47-shop Service King chain in Texas, said there is some logic in what the U.K. insurer was espousing.    

“I think in collision repair, the primary customer is insurance, and if you don’t exceed their expectations, you will not be rewarded with growth,” she said. “The secondary customer is the traditional retail customer. I think it’s true that you don’t have to exceed their expectations; you just have to satisfy them. That’s what we’re rewarded on by the primary customer, the insurance companies, whether we have satisfied those customers and given them great service.”

– As reported in CRASH Network (, October 24, 2011. Bulbuck continues to lead The Boyd Group, which now has more than 350 shops in North America. Grimshaw is still CEO of Caliber, which now has more than 400 shops. Bonner was shifted from president at Service King to chairman of the company’s board after investment firm The Carlyle Group acquired majority ownership of the company in 2012; the company now has more than 300 shops.

John Yoswick

John Yoswick is a freelance writer and Autobody News columnist who has been covering the collision industry since 1988, and the editor of the CRASH Network... Read More

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