The Year In Quotes: What the industry was talking about throughout the extraordinary 2021


compiled by John Yoswick


As the nation took steps to put the pandemic in the rear view mirror this past year, discussions within the industry refocused from COVID-19 cleaning of vehicles and “touchless claims” back to OEM repair procedures and certifications, the technician shortage, parts challenges, and shop-insurer relations. Here is this year’s collection of some of the most important, interesting or entertaining quotes heard within the collision industry over the past 12 months.


“An employee’s wife has a Honda she gets serviced at the dealership, and she always asks them where they’d recommend she get a dent repaired, and they’d always told her about our shop. The last time they said [another shop name], and that’s what started us checking this out. That shop was added two months ago, and we’ve not had any work [through the program] since. We are right in the middle of our ProFirst renewal, and Honda kept this information to themselves.”
– a West Coast collision repairer frustrated in January to discover that Honda had added “a bunch of shops” in his market to its certification program, including one less than a mile from one his shops had previously seen one or two Honda jobs a week through the program


“We are currently technically full in terms of the number [of shops] we wanted to have in our certification program. But we will add shops as needed based on geographical and units-in-operation conditions. We do not have a specific radius of how close a [certified] shop can be to another one. We’re going to try not to put one right across the street from another, but I can tell you that I have actually seen four certified shops in a 2-block area. But that’s because in the metro area, that’s where they put all the body shops. So we will have situations like that.”
– Dane Rounkles, manager of wholesale collision parts for American Honda, speaking in August as the automaker began transitioning ProFirst shops to its new “Honda and Acura Certified Collision” program


“I would say of the 30-some employees we have, 80 percent have been affected in one way or another. Either infected or affected. Whether it be themselves or their loved ones and so they stay home. It’s happened from our front office all the way to our body and paint technicians.”
– Bob Gottfred, owner of Erie-LaSalle Body Shop in Chicago, speaking in January about the pandemic’s impact on his shop


“Meanwhile, automotive manufacturers were sort of the last to resume production, and when they started coming back online, they realized they were all of a sudden at the back of the line for ability to buy them.”
– Greg Horn of PartsTrader in March explaining why the global microchip shortage has significantly impacted the automakers


“They want to be able to tell their customers they are sending them to a certified shop, but when it comes to the repairs, they don't want to pay for an OEM-certified quality level of repair. They are talking out of both sides of their mouths.”
– a West Coast shop owner on why he finds the trend of insurers touting the OEM certifications their direct repair shops hold a little frustrating



“When I confronted them about it, they kind of brushed it off as if it’s not even important. We just stopped using that dealership altogether.”
– Sam Zamir, co-owner of Collision Consultants Auto Body & Paint in Los Angeles, saying his company had to stop subletting ADAS calibrations to a particular dealership because there was no indication they had, for example, filled the fuel tank of vehicles when that was required as part of the calibration procedures


“When we asked some questions to the dealers, we found they were sometimes giving us prices [for calibrations] that didn’t include an alignment because they didn’t know that it was a required part of it.”
– the owner of independent shop in western Pennsylvania who reported a similar experience subletting calibration work to dealerships before building his own alignment and calibration center


“Then we took that same vehicle, ran it through a calibration process using non-OEM targets and equipment. We took the car back out into the parking lot. We were all amused by watching this [object the system should detect] get punted about 100 yards across the parking lot because the car didn’t even slow down. Looking at them visually, the OEM and non-OEM calibration targets looked the same. The procedure the aftermarket tool told us to use appeared to be the same. But clearly something was off. It didn’t work. Again, it’s following those OEM procedures that is critical.”
– Bud Center, director of technical products and curriculum for I-CAR, sharing an example of the impact of collision repairers not following OEM procedures when it comes to ADAS calibrations


“I don’t know what terms like that mean. I can’t even imagine what the average consumer…would think about those terms and what to make of them.”
– Patrick Dorais, the chief of the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), reemphasizing his agency’s ban on use of parts terms like “Opt-OEM,” “Alt-OEM” or “OEM-Surplus” on shop estimates or invoices


“It’s a touchy issue for me as an OEM. We’re not the ones paying the bill. The repairers are the ones doing the work. Our job is to provide all the content and all the information necessary for the repairer to say, ‘This is what I need to do to repair the vehicle properly, safely, and to make sure it’s ready to go back on the road.’ And he should get paid for the work that is necessary for that to happen. But it’s hard for us as an OEM to step in the middle of a conversation about a transaction that is happening between the repairer and the insurer.”
– John Eck, collision manager for General Motors, when asked about the issue of insurers refusing to pay for the post-crash inspections called for by GM


“In the field, there is a great deal of downward pressure on collision repair businesses that try to use the right tools, that try to follow the right processes, and try to perform the necessary steps. This is a step toward creating resources between our three associations to give [those shops] something to reference, [to show] that they’re not alone in trying to perform the proper repair with the proper tools.”
– Aaron Schulenburg of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) discussing thejoint statement on scanning compensation issued in March by the Automotive Service Association (ASA), SCRS and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) that distinguishes a charge for vehicle scanning as distinct from “all other procedures necessary to correctly and safely identify and address a vehicle’s electronic system faults or diagnostic trouble codes…[which] are considered additional operations and not included in the scanning operation”


“I could agree that some of the manufacturers’ guidelines or procedures seem like they are there to cover [the OEM’s] liability, but that’s a discussion between the manufacturer who builds the car and the folks that insure the car. As a repairer, you have no choice but to follow those guidelines, period. If those guidelines need to be changed or have some flexibility, that’s a discussion for a room in Detroit or wherever that car is built.”
– Mike Giarrizzo, CEO of DCR Systems, which operates eight collision repair shops under partnerships with dealers


“The insurance industry asked for the technology in the vehicles, but now pushes back against the operations that [responsible shops] are performing. We can’t ignore that. We can’t use the claims process to mitigate [costs associated with technology] you asked for. [Shops] are in an incredibly difficult position when we do that. I think it’s really important to push back on the OEMs. Ask questions. But don’t use claims to do it.”
– SCRS’s Schulenburg


“Customers might go out to dinner, drop their car off after that, and it’s detailed and ready before they work the next day. I would say eight to 10 customers every week will take advantage of this. Usually they’re just blown away. It works great, especially if someone doesn’t want to get into a rental.”
– Dan Dayfer, manager of the Northtown Collision dealer-owned shop in Amherst, N.Y., discussing the overnight repair option the shop offers on jobs with 20 or fewer body labor hours


“Tesla took four of our employees.”
– the manager of a collision shop on the East Coast quoted in September by CRASH Network after the publication obtained a recruiting email sent to an unknown number of technicians at independent shops in the Tesla-Approved Collision Center network


“Advertising and accepting interviews with shop techs who may want to change jobs is one thing, but active solicitation is way out of bounds, if you ask me.”
– owner of a Tesla-approved shops who said that type of recruiting hadn’t occurred in his area but who wondered if that’s because an expected Tesla repair center hasn’t yet opened in his market


“Tesla contacting our employees is a problem because we are all looking for talented employees. To poach from existing shops is a problem, but just like an insurance company, Tesla fears no one.”
– a New Jersey shop owner who said one of his employees was being recruited two years ago when Tesla was opening a shop in New York


“That’s a good question.”
– Frank Terlep, co-chair of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) “Future Disruptions Committee,” when asked whether, as the volume of electric vehicles that shops need to charge during or following repairs increases, that will significantly raise shops’ electric bills, and if so will there be a way to track and bill for those costs


“Safe and proper will become the true north of the industry. It’s starting to take effect. I believe the insurers are and are likely to continue to collaborate more with repairers and the OEMs on the deployment of a new model, new virtual claims. I believe the insurers will become more collaborative as they see less and less threat from the economic side of things, and more and more threat from the liability side of things. As safe and proper repairs become the true north, we’ll see more collaboration.”
– industry consultant Sean Carey


“We haven’t seen the same inflation in labor [rates, as we have in parts] yet, but I think we’re going to. Repairers, just like everybody else, are having significant wage pressures: signing bonuses, paying people with the [increasingly complex] skill sets required. It’s not just body work. It’s mechanical work, the knowledge of electronics, understanding how telematics and the systems of the car work, how to read the manuals from the OEMs. All of that requires a higher set of training and tooling. That cost will have to be passed on. So I think we’re going to see more inflation on labor. I think that’s going to start to find its way into appraisals as well. It just has to.”
– Susanna Gotsch of CCC Intelligent Solutions, speaking at the “MSO Symposium” in November


“Given our excessive levels of work, we are endeavoring to prioritize our production toward higher-margin business…and suspending business relationships with a few lower-margin clients that are not willing to increase pricing.”
– CEO Tim O’Day of The Boyd Group, the Canadian parent company of Gerber Collision & Glass in the United States, telling investors in a quarterly report in November that company has had to “rapidly adjust wages at levels not previously experienced,” leading company management to have “discussions with large key clients about the urgent need for price increases”


“Supplements on an average basis generally account for almost 20 percent of the overall cost of repair now.”
– CCC’s Gotsch, noting that charges for the increasing number of vehicle system calibrations and ADAS resets are often included on supplements rather than initial estimates


“It’s absolute mayhem right now.”
– a Connecticut shop owner, who in November reported having a work backlog of more than six weeks, in responding to a survey that found the highest national average backlog of work (3.4 weeks) in the five years CRASH Network has been tracking the statistic



2020 - 2019