This Week in Auto Body News

New Industry Resource from I-CAR

I-CAR has launched a new industry resource, the Repairability Technical Support (RTS) Portal, the company announced Friday.

The portal includes industry information on topics like original equipment manufacturers (OEM), partial parts replacements searches, the current top-10 vehicle-specific questions, and has an option to ask the organization a question.  RTS is part of I-CAR’s initiative to connect the auto body repair industry to OEMs.  The organization will also discuss OEMs at the I-CAR main stage during the 2014 NACE/CARS Expo & Conference, July 30–Aug. 2 in Detroit.

Key I-CAR Conference topics are:

  • Ford: CAFE and vehicle optimization challenge, and the new aluminum-intensive 2015 Ford F-150, Collision Repair Service strategy
  • Lightweighting: Carbon fiber, advanced steels, aluminum
  • Vehicle technology: The changing DNA of the vehicle
  • Advanced electronics, communications and safety: Collision avoidance, connected vehicles, vehicle data

Companies presenting at the Conference include:

  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Motors Corporation
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Alcoa
  • Steel Market Development Institute
  • Robert Bosch LLC
  • The University of Michigan; Larry Burns PhD, and Transportation Research Institute
  • SCG Management

Enterprise ARMS Product May Help Reduce Cycle Time

Collision Repair shops that use Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Automated Rental Management System (ARMS) have, on average, a shorter cycle time than those who do not, according to newly released data from Enterprise.

The ARMS product, initially developed in 1999, measures the length of time a customer uses a rental car, tracks and forecasts labor needs, and can generate monthly reports. The program also enables repair centers to book rental reservations and send vehicle status updates to insurance partners or customers.

Enterprise_Rent_a_Car_Logo2ARMS aims to help collision repair centers increase operating efficiencies, enhance customer service and streamline communications with insurance companies and customers.  According to data collected by Enterprise between January 2014 to May 2014, ARMS product users’ cycle time is nearly four days shorter than non-ARMS users, on average.

“Losing a customer due to perceived excessive repair time is costly for both collision repair centers and insurers,” Frank LaViola, assistant vice president of collision industry relations at Enterprise, said. “That’s why cycle time has become one of the most important performance metrics in the collision repair industry. With ARMS, communication between insurance companies, collision repair centers and car rental offices is streamlined to help reduce cycle time and get policyholders back in their cars sooner.”

Sanford Paint & Body and Martin’s Collision center are members of both I-CAR Gold and Enterprise.  We utilize the technology produced by both of these companies and will be implementing them as soon as they are available to the public.  We are excited for the recent developments in the industry, but also like to stick to old school ways – like offering you a free quote for your collision repair.  Contact us today for a free estimate!!

Auto Body News Update

New Automotive Refinish Available

PPG Automotive Refinish expanded its OMNI PLUS product line by adding a new 15-minute bake clearcoat.

The MC2800 EUROPLUS Speed Clear is a 4.2 VOC high solids clearcoat, which offers both a quick bake option and the ability air-dry and buff the same day. The clearcoat is also able to adjust to production conditions, like the temperature of the facility, when used with one of two Omni Plus activators, MH2880 or MH2890 High Temperature.

“As part of the Omni Plus product line, MC2800 EuroPlus Speed Clear helps enhance a repair shop’s throughput and productivity while delivering excellent results,” said Jennifer Boros, PPG’s segment manager of solvent-borne brands. “This new clearcoat’s fast dry times and exceptional finish—all at an economical price—make it the kind of product our value-focused repair shops will want to incorporate into their refinish systems to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction.”

CARSTAR Fixes ‘Hero’s’ Truck For Free

West Valley CARSTAR in Utah performed free truck repairs for a man being hailed as a hero after he used his Dodge 2500 to barricade against a car attempting to drive through a public park where several children were playing, the company announced Wednesday.

Back in late May Bryson Rowley used his 2006 Dodge pickup to block a car being driven by a 14-year-old boy who had stolen his grandfather’s car and was being chased by police. The boy had already driven the truck through the park once and was on his way back for another pass when Rowley blocked the entrance to the park with his truck.  “The car came from the opposite side of the park. It came across all the ball fields, across the grass, right at all the kids,” Rowley said. “He jumped the car over a grass patch, into the road. At that point I told my wife I can’t let him back in.”

Rowley drove his truck in front of the vehicle, ending the chase. Rowley wasn’t injured, but he knew the $7,000 worth of repairs to his Dodge would probably not be covered by his insurance carrier. When Brian Ellison, West Valley CARSTAR production manager and co-owner, heard about the accident he reached out to Rowley.

“I saw what happened on the news that night, and thought the least I can do is help him out,” Ellison said. “If it was one of my kids, or one of my nieces or nephews, you can’t replace that. Cars can be replaced, people can’t.”
The shop not only fixed Rowley’s truck, but with the help of vendors, also gave it several upgrades. In all, Rowley ended up with $15,000–$20,000 worth of repairs and upgrades. Vendors that donated parts include Fusion Bumpers, Diesel Power Gear, Smittybilt, Sinister Diesel, Jacket Accessories, Tip Top Transmission, Precision Dent, Diesel Sellerz.com, Sparks Motors, MBRP, Monster Hooks Inc., and Larry H. Miller Chrysler Jeep Dodge.
Hertz covered the cost of a rental car for Rowley while his truck was being repaired. “We’ve been pretty blessed down here. It was the least I could do,” Ellison said. “He’s a good guy. When he came to pick it up, he was in tears.”

Sanford Paint & Body and Martin’s Collision Center prides itself in customer satisfaction and client retention. We use the most up to date technology in order to insure your car is repaired according with the highest industry standards. Contact us today for a free quote!

Auto Body News Update

I-CAR Celebrates 35th Birthday

 There were several new updates to the auto body industry in the past several weeks that are worthy of mention here today.  First on the docket is I-CAR.  Inter-industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (or I-CAR) celebrated its 35th birthday on Monday, July 1st.  For the past 35 years, I-CAR has been working to provide collision repair training courses for repair technicians.   Currently, I-CAR offers over 178 courses and has served a total of almost 9,000 businesses and over 56,000 prospective students.

Over the years, I-CAR has helped raise awareness of standards for education on repair techniques and safety procedures, which has had a direct correlation with the increase in customer satisfaction and workmanship integrity in the auto body repair industry.

Florida Lawsuit Against Insurers Gets Refiled

As we reported several weeks ago, there was a class action lawsuit filed by over 20 collision repairers in the State of Florida against 39 insurance companies.  The suit was dismissed without prejudice last week.

The suit currently alleges that State Farm has been at the center of an effort to reduce payments made to collision repair centers in Florida.  It has also been mentioned that these efforts have been made in order to suppress labor rates and to force shops to accept lower payments for materials required to make the necessary repairs.

On June 27th, district Judge Gregory Presnell requested more information about the complaints.  The judge specifically asked for further clarification surrounding specific instances where this happened and what shops were directly involved.  The plaintiffs in the case believe that they now have a strong case and should have a leg to stand upon when the case is finally brought before a jury.

valspar-logo-homeValspar Announces New Clearcoat Technology

On July 2nd, Valspar announced an addition to its Air Cure Clearcoat technology into the refinish product line that they offer.

The new Air Cure Clearcoat, or AD4200, as well as the Air Cure Clearcoat Low VOC, or AD4221, now offer to be applied in a wet-on-wet technique which has allowed them to cut the dry time on these clearcoats to be cut to as low as half an hour when drying in optimal conditions.  Valspar continues to lead the technology present in refinishing cars and has set the standard for the industry as a whole.

Martin’s Collision and Sanford Paint & Body has proudly been a member of I-CAR Gold certification since we have been in business.  In addition, we always use the state of the art training manuals as well as paints and clearcoats that are at the pinnacle of their industry.

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.

Tesla Motor Patentstesla-motors-logo-234234

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.

ASA

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!

This Week In Auto Body and Collision Repair News

Membership Discount through I-CAR and NABC Partnership

The National Auto Body Council (NBAC) and I-CAR have come to an agreement via a partnership to offer a discount on both of their memberships.  The agreement was announced on May 21st and will include a discount on I-CAR Gold Class businesses all the way through the end of 2014.

Additionally, NABC will be providing prospective members with a 30% discount to their Bronze Membership.  The reason behind this is because of the shared goals that both NABC and I-CAR share in the auto body and collision repair industry.  Jeff Peevy, the senior director of field operations at I-CAR stated, “I-CAR and NABC have complementary goals of encouraging professionalism and promoting a positive image of our industry.”  He went on to say, “One of the best ways to achieve this is to support and enable the growth of an organization designed for this purpose.”

Once a business has obtained an NABC membership, they will be afforded opportunities to develop and sustain a prominent leadership position in the auto body and collision repair industry.  There are also various events that member businesses will be invited to attend such as First Responders Emergency Extraction, Distracted Driving Initiative and Recycled Rides.  The overall goal that both these companies share is to help promote a networking positive industry and to benefit off of each other’s successes, while helping to deal with failures.

Auto Sales Fall Short Of Automaker Recalls 

 

graphYear over year we have seen that recalls for manufactured vehicles have out-paced sales in the industry.  This data, provided by the Certified Automotive Parts Association (or CAPA) has caused quite a stir and an increase in discussions amongst auto manufacturers.  CAPA is challenging the major players in the manufacturing industry to reconsider their prevailing ideas about parts.

According to CAPA, due to more than 21 million cars being recalled in the past 5 months, we will experience the 5th year in a row where recalls outperformed total sales in the industry.  CAPA warns that this must be corrected for the automobile industry to remain liquid and to keep providing quality cars for affordable prices.

At Sanford Paint & Body and Martin’s Collision Center, you can rest assured that we are members of both I-CAR Gold as well as the NBAC.  Our customers and quality of work are our number one priority from start to finish.  We even offer to tow your car 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you have been involved in an accident and organize a rental car on your behalf.  Visit our home page for more information on our services, hours and contact information!

This Week In Auto Body and Collision News

I-CAR To Launch New Interactive Training Course

I-CAR, the industry standard for repairing the technologically advanced vehicles that we drive today, has announced that it will soon be launching a new interactive training course.  This new course will specifically focus on the steering and suspension systems on today’s cars.  The new course, called Advanced Steering and Suspension Systems Damage Analysis, or DAM15 for short, will be released on June 9th 2014.  This new course will actually take the place of an outdated training module called Electronically Controlled Steering and Suspension Systems (or STE05).

The replacement of the old training system is being done in order to keep up with the ever-evolving automotive repair industry.  As technology continues to influence and modify the vehicles that we drive, we also have to adapt the standards that auto body repair shops abide by.  If the advanced steering and suspension systems are not repaired property there is a good chance that the vehicle could be severed compromised from functioning properly, ultimately leading to more accidents, injuries and deaths.  It is always I-CAR’s goal to continuously modify, update and replace out of date practices that do not apply to the types of automobiles being manufactured in this day and age.

This new training module will also be considered a 3 credits, one-hour course and it does meet the requirements for auto damage appraisers, estimators and mechanical/electrical technicians in I-CAR’s Professional Development Program.  Martin’s Collision Center and Sanford Paint & Body have been certified I-CAR Gold since our inception years ago, and we continue to participate in the updated training courses they release each year.

Valspar Automotive Joins NABC as Diamond Member

Valspar Automotive, one of the largest suppliers of automotive paints in the industry, as recently achieved Diamond level membership with the National Auto Body Council.  Peter Willman, General Manager of Valspar Automotive North America, stated that since the first time they met with NABC reps that their ultimate goal was to achieve a Diamond level membership with the council.  Only 8 months later, they have proven they have what it takes to join the other 31 auto body companies that lay claim to this prestigious membership status. Along with NABC, they will be joining a host of over 200 member companies that also help support this important council.

When asked about the newest edition to their diamond level membership, Chuck Sulkala, Executive Director of the NABC had these words to offer: “We applaud and welcome Valspar’s leadership commitment to the National Auto Body Council.  Valspar’s membership at our highest Diamond level represents a strong endorsement of the value and important work by our entire membership as we continue to strengthen and build a positive image of our collision industry.”

Auto Body News Update – 5/14/14

I-CAR CEO Will Present Study Results in Nashville

John Van Alstyne, CEO of I-CAR, will be in Nashville, Tennessee on May 22nd to give a two-hour presentation at the One Century Place Conference Center.  Beyond the normal updates about business at I-CAR and any new procedures that they will be introducing to the marketplace, John also plans on releasing the results of a study that was conducted to test return on investment for auto boy shops before and after I-CAR training systems were implemented.

Additionally, Mr. Van Alstyne will cover all of the key steps required in order to create an environment of learning at an auto body shop, along with additional facts that were uncovered during the study.  In an I-CAR release, it was stated, “You will receive practical advice designed to help you increase market share, keep your best employees, and grow your bottom line”.  So, if increasing profitability is on your list of to-dos for 2014, this might be a seminar worth attending.  The presentation is slated to begin at 9 a.m. on May 22nd.

OmniVision To Release Automotive Image Sensor

OmniVision has long been the industry leader in development of advanced digital solutions for various industries and marketplaces.  They have now announced and released the first of its kind illumination device on the rear of vehicles in attempt to shed light on that area and help avoid potential hazards to vehicles.

The details of the chip and technology itself are cumbersome and difficult to decipher.  All in all, this technology goes above and beyond the current ‘back up cameras’ that are installed in cars today.  This new technology will provide a much higher resolution picture with less ‘noise’ or interference in the picture.  It will also help to provide light to dim or poorly lit areas at the rear of vehicles.  It has also been stated that this technology can be installed at auto body shops as an after market device that will work with current electrical systems on most cars that currently have a back up camera built in.

What does this all mean?  Well, OmniVision hopes that it means fewer accidents while backing out of a parking spot or your driveway, but only time will tell whether or not the results will actually be achieved.

For now, you will have to rely on the experts at Martin’s Collision Center and Sanford Paint & Body for all of your auto body needs and wants.  We specialize in auto bodywork, collision damage and body repainting.  With two I-CAR certified and convenient locations in Sanford, FL, we are just a phone call away to help you with any auto body issue that you might have!