Ultra 9K Refinish System Helps High-Volume Auto Body Shop Get It Right the First Time

Faith Quality Auto Body in Murrieta, CA, matches colors the first time every time with Sherwin-Williams’ Ultra 9K® Waterborne Refinish System.

In 1979, Lee Amaradio opened a small shop in Mission Viejo, CA, with a business partner. Amaradio wanted to name it Faith Auto Body, while the partner wanted Quality Auto Body, so they compromised, and Faith Quality Auto Body was born.

A year later, Amaradio bought out his business partner, and a decade after that, in 1990, he moved the shop into a bigger space in Murrieta.

Since then, he has bought the three lots next door and built another building on each. Faith Quality Auto Body now comprises four buildings at the same location, totaling 34,000 square feet of production space.

Faith Quality Auto Body
Location: Murrieta, CA
(951) 698-8215
Facebook: @FaithQualityAutoBody

Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 50
In Business Since: 1979
Number of Locations: One
Production Space: 36,000 square feet

All that additional production space needed more work to fill it, and that’s where Steve Saunders came in. Saunders had worked for a few small shops since 1987, working his way up to a general manager position, until he was hired by Amaradio in 1996.

“Lee is a super guy,” Saunders said.

Saunders is now director of OE compliance and training at Faith Quality Auto Body, working to qualify the shop for as many OE certifications as possible to bring in more business volume. The I-CAR Gold Class shop now has 20 certifications, including Subaru, General Motors, Volkswagen, Honda, Ford, Volvo, Mazda and Mercedes-Benz, as well as the certifications and equipment to work on high-top vans like Sprinter, Dodge ProMaster, Nissan NV and Ford Transit, and is currently working on two more.

Saunders said thanks to the expansion of the OE certification program and Amaradio’s vision to expand the footprint, the shop now repairs about 200 vehicles per month, increasing monthly sales from about $125,000 to $800,000 over 20 years.

Director of OE Compliance and Training Steve Saunders said switching to the Ultra 9K system in 2017 has improved the shop’s productivity.

The shop and its employees’ excellence have not gone unnoticed---Faith Quality Auto Body was named the 2008-09 Collision Business of the Year by Assured Performance Collision Care, and Saunders was named the 2021 Single-Shop Executive of the Year by BodyShop Business.

Saunders is also active in the industry, participating in Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meetings and serving as chair of the Riverside I-CAR Committee since 1996.

“You need to be a part of the industry; you can’t just sit back and complain,” Saunders said. “You have to get up and do something. Not just for yourself, but for everyone.”

Saunders said Faith Quality Auto Body has been using Sherwin-Williams refinish products since 2000, but in 2017, the company switched the shop to its Ultra 9K® Waterborne Refinish System.

The shop tells customers on its website it takes special pride in its ability to match factory finishes as the final step in the restoration process, and Saunders said Ultra 9K makes that easy.

Ultra 9K is a waterborne basecoat system, with 63 pigment rich toners, that gets the right color, the first time---even the most difficult---and is OEM-approved.

“It was a real easy transition,” Saunders said of the switch to Ultra 9K.

Sherwin-Williams provided two weeks of training for the shop’s technicians on the system’s new equipment and software, he said.

“The biggest worry when you switch paint is the colors won’t match or look good,” he said. “This paint lays down nice. It’s very user-friendly and the color match is terrific. Saunders said all systems have a color eye camera to help match paint, but the Ultra 9K system’s camera seems to work especially well.

The base coat goes on “super smooth,” Saunders said, so the clear coat does too.

“Normally, the camera selects a chip that doesn’t match exactly,” he said. “But when we spray with this one, it matches.”

Saunders said the ease of color-matching in particular has improved the shop’s productivity.

“Formulas are only as good as they can be,” he said. “That’s why color matching is so important. People don’t want so see their car looking like it’s been repaired.”

Saunders said more complicated modern finishes—in particular three-stage pearls—have always been the hardest to match.

“It’s just phenomenal with this system,” he said.

The system’s base coat lays down super smooth, Saunders said, leaving no texture, meaning the clear coat goes on smooth too.

In addition to the great product and results, Saunders said Sherwin-Williams always provides terrific support to the shop.

“The people representing Sherwin-Williams have good knowledge,” he said. “If you have any questions or issues, they’re always really close by.

“It’s just a really good company,” he said.

Sherwin-Williams® Automotive Finishes
4440 Warrensville Center Rd.
Warrensville Hts., OH 44124
(800) 798-5872
Facebook: @SherwinWilliamsAutomotive
Instagram: @swrefinish
LinkedIn: @Sherwin-WilliamsAutomotiveFinishes
YouTube: @SWAFC

To read more auto body shop profiles in the October 2022 Shop and Product Showcase, click here.

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