This Week In Automotive News

Insurance Customer Satisfaction Increase, Despite Increasing Premiums

It is no secret that auto insurance premiums have been on the rise for the past 5 years, but it may come as a surprise to learn that along with the increase in premiums, customer satisfaction with their current auto insurance company is at record-high levels!  In that same 5 years, satisfaction from customers also rose by an incredible 16%.  The scale used to measure customer satisfaction is out of 1,000 points and the current score for the industry as a whole is a whopping 810.  The satisfaction scale has been in use since 2000.

Normally, an increase in insurance premiums typically triggers a shift in shopping behavior, resulting in more people searching for insurance from alternative providers, but the industry is actually seeing less people shopping for insurance than ever before.  Ultimately, this translates into the insurance companies becoming more effective in communicating with their customers and thereby increasing consumer retention in the process.  The increase in communication includes the insurance companies informing their clients of premium increases and the reasons they are necessary.

Currently, some of the key findings of the study are that 51% of current customers ‘definitely will’ renew their insurance with the current provider.  49% of consumers ‘definitely will’ recommend their insurer to friends and family in 2014.  Another key point is that having a relationship with an insurer that is actually engaging results in a decreased likelihood of changing to a new provider.  Finally, more than 60% of the customers who like to interact with technology have had an interaction with their insurance company in the past year.

Florida Judge Dismisses Suit by Auto Body Shops

On June 24th, a U.S. District court dismissed a lawsuit filed by more than 20 collision repair shops in FL against 39 insurers.  The suit alleges that many insurance companies, including State Farm are at the center of a secret effort to suppress labor rates and also force these auto body shops to accept lower payments for materials used in the repair of cars.

Judge Gregory Presnell dismissed the case and allowed the shops an additional 3 days to clarify what shops and what insurers are involved and affected by this possible collusion.  The judge asked for individual incidents rather than a broad overview of the situation.

Martins Collision and Sanford Paint & Body accept all major insurers when you are involved in an auto related collision.  We will work with them to ensure the smoothest, easy to understand process takes place and that our customers are left satisfied with the experience they have.  Please call us today if you have been involved in an auto accident!

This Week in Auto Body News

As usual, the auto body industry did not sleep this past week!  One of the biggest stories in the automotive industry this week, and the highlight of this post, is the fact that Tesla Motors has released ALL of its incredible patents to the public.  In addition to the landmark decision, I-CAR has launched a new Photography Documentation Course for participating members to take part in.

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In a news story that rocked not only to automotive industry, but the entire world, Elon Musk, owner and inventor of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has decided that all the patents used to create the first luxury electric car will be released to the public for everyone to utilize.  The purpose behind this, as Musk explains, is to remove some of the barriers of entry into the electronic car industry.  Musk believes that by doing this he is not taking away from his own car sales, rather he is making it more viable for other companies to start manufacturing electric cars in order to combat the auto giants.

Currently, there are about 100 million cars being manufactured each year, with the current global fleet of cars approaching 2 billion.  Of the 100 million being produced each year, nearly all of them are gas eating, and carbon polluting vehicles.  Elon Musk believes that this must change immediately if we are going to combat the threat of climate change and global warming.  He even went as far to say that patents “often stifle progress and entrench the positions of giant corporations.”   Musk also noted that it would be impossible for Tesla alone to build electric cars fast enough to combat the current carbon crisis.  He is calling for fellow investors, inventors and entrepreneurs to use the information he has made public to help him in his quest to dethrone the giant corporations while making the planet a healthier place to live.

This move is the first of its kind in decades.  Most people believe that patents help to protect the inventor from having their idea stolen, but Musk believes this is an outdated idea.  He views it now as more of an innovation killer than anything and thinks that as long as those who use his patents ‘in good faith’ should not be prosecuted legally.

I-CAR Launches New Course

On Friday of last week, I-CAR announced that it would be launching a new course for estimators and appraisers, which covers different ways to document collisions through photography.  This course, called Document and Digital Photography or DOC01, was designed to train professionals in the auto body industry on the best practices for documenting digital photography in order to accurately capture the damage to the vehicle.  As with any industry, while we move along, documentation and data become more and more important.

At Martin’s Collision Center and Sanford Paint & Body, we always use the highest standards when it comes to data analysis and auto body repair techniques.  We are I-CAR Gold certified and utilize all of their training courses to ensure that our technicians are up to date with industry standards.

Auto Body News Update

As always, it has been an extremely busy and eventful week in the world of auto-body news.  This week, I-CAR released a new course for it’s members to train on, CARSTAR reports record revenue in 2013, and I-CAR has appointed a new OEM Development Director.

I-CAR’s New Course

On Monday of this week, I-CAR released a statement to announce that its new class is now open for registration – Advanced Steering and Suspension Damage Analysis or DAM15 for short.  This class aims at better training I-CAR certified technicians in ways to analyze damage done during auto collisions to the suspension and steering mechanisms in todays new, high-tech cars.  As always, the aim with this program is to reduce costs, increase productivity while maintaining the level of quality craftsmanship that is associated with the I-CAR brand.  This course was released in order to replace Electronically Controlled Steering and Suspensions Systems, or STE05.  The class has been updated to meet the standards of today’s vehicles and provides the training necessary to be proficient with these new types of systems.  This course will also meet all the training requirements for electrical/mechanical technicians, estimators and auto physical damage appraisers.

CARSTAR Record Profits

On Wednesday of this week, CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts released a statement that showed the company generated record revenue in 2013 due in part to an improving economy, technology and weather related events.  Across country there are a total of 440 CARSTAR shops, and in 2013 those shops generated $641 million, up from $603 million the year prior.  At this pace, CARSTAR is estimating that their record will again be broken this year with over $650 million in revenue for fiscal year 2014.

New OEM Development Director

Finally, Wednesday was also the day that I-CAR announced that they were appointing a new OEM Development Director.  John Bosin was tapped for the position and looks forward to face the challenges that await him.  He will oversee strategic activity and business development for the OEM segment of the company, which also encompasses training and Gold Class programs.

Martin’s Collision and Sanford Paint & Body have been I-CAR gold certified for over a decade.  We pride ourselves on our craftsmanship and dedication to customer service.  Quality work is no accident at either one of our two locations and we will even provide you with a free estimate if you have a need for bodywork on your car.

This Week In Auto Body News

May Sales and Profits Increase in Auto Industry

While recalls still outnumber the total automobiles sold this year so far, profits and sales for cars did increase in May.  The sales this past month actually surpassed the seasonally adjusted rate for units sold at just over 16 million.  This is the third month in a row that this as occurred, according to Forbes magazine.

Forbes also stated that this good news, in conjunction of slow but steady growth over the past 5 years could actually place sales of new cars at pre-recession levels in the coming months.  Car manufacturers are also seeing profits increase month over month, when not counting all of the recent recalls for General Motors.  Although, some of these larger profit margins are due to what automakers call ‘infrequent items’.  For the year 2014, Chrysler Group expects to see profits upward of $650 million.


Safety and Telematics Meetings held by ASA on Capitol Hill

Living in FL, we have been accustomed to not being required to get periodic motor vehicle inspections (PMVI).  In many states throughout the country there are various types of inspections due – anything from emissions to standard checks for safety equipment in your vehicle.  Here in FL, we are not required to submit our vehicles to any of these checks, a luxury that not many other states can afford.

While meeting with members of congress this past week, the Automotive Service Association (AMA) mechanical division urged them to work with the NHTSA or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in order to promote vehicle inspections.  While this will create more bureaucracy and red tape, the benefits to the environment could be significant.  Currently, FL does not require an emissions inspection on an annual basis.  This is reflected in the numerous cars in the state that have black smoke pouring out of their exhaust and contributing to rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  With the implementation of annual emission checks, we will be able to get the old, inefficient cars that do not have proper exhaust systems off of the road.

At Sanford Paint & Body and Martin’s Collision Center, we always ensure that the vehicles we repair are back to normal, working function before we sign off on releasing the vehicle back to the customer.  Ensuring that our client’s car meets national emission standards are our top priority.  The last thing we want is to have a car on the road that is not friendly to the environment.  We also always make sure that we dispose of waste at our facilities with the extreme car required to meet the standards set at a national level.  We are I-CAR Gold certified!