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ASA Provides Legislative, Division Updates at 2010 ASRW

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Representatives of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) were on hand Oct. 12 in Las Vegas for a morning press conference to discuss new initiatives, goals and completed projects for the association and its members. The press conference was held during ASA’s International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) and Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) events – co-located as part of the third annual Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW) – at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center Oct. 10-13.

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Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington, D.C., representative, provided an update on the regulatory and legislative activities of the association, including the National Conference of Insurance Legislators’ (NCOIL) upcoming meeting this November in Austin, Texas.

“We’ve been very concerned since 2009 that they are proposing a Model Aftermarket Parts Act and a Model Steering Act for state legislators and legislatures to consider across the country,” Redding said.

What is important, Redding stressed, is that NCOIL members finally vote on the model legislation at this meeting. ASA opposes these two pieces of model legislation: The association feels the parts act goes too far on certification and does not require a consumer’s written consent for the use of aftermarket parts during a repair, and the steering model act does not include language on equipment and training, ASA says.

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Redding also talked about the work ASA has done with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the new refinish/paint regulation. He emphasized the importance of strong enforcement of the new rule to accompany the rulemaking and training efforts that have been ongoing.

On the mechanical side, Redding explained the importance of Ohio’s new franchise law, recently signed by the governor. This legislation includes a provision to compensate independent service professionals for warranty work completed in an emergency situation. ASA says this legislation is important because it could become a model for other states that are concerned about the reduction in the number of dealerships.

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In addition, Redding told the audience he believes Congress will not take any action for the remainder of the year on the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010.

“Although the act got out of committees, it did not pass the House and Senate,” he said.

The current form used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) emphasizes tire complaints, but ASA is working with the agency to develop a new form that expands the categories. The current form is available on the NHTSA SaferCar.gov website.

Redding also encouraged participation in ASA’s upcoming “Taking the Hill” fly-in event, which will conclude the association’s 2011 annual business meeting in Washington, D.C., May 9-11.

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Bill Moss, AAM, ASA Mechanical Division director and owner of Ferris Automotive, Warrenton, Va., outlined the Mechanical Division Operations Committee’s work in 2010, including a committee meeting last June that coincided with the SkillsUSA championships held in Kansas City, Mo.

Committee members served as judges for some of the competitions and will work with SkillsUSA to promote the event and the industry. He also told the audience that the Parts Quality subcommittee is continuing its work to address quality issues and how repairers can better identify various levels of parts quality. Among other projects, the operations committee members are also working on a project that will assist repairers in the future when performing reflash operations and purchasing scan tools.

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Dan Stander, ASA Collision Division director and co-owner of Jerry Stander’s Collision Works, Littleton, Colo., provided the audience with an overview of the committee’s ongoing activities, including a live broadcast last spring on Collision Hub’s website during their Washington, D.C., committee meeting.

He also asked ASA members to seriously consider joining the committee in Washington, D.C., this May at ASA’s annual business meeting and “Taking the Hill” day. Issues of concern include repeal of the McCarren-Ferguson Act and ‘What’s in the Box?’ – a similar project to the Mechanical Division’s look at parts quality.

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Work continues on the “Feather, Prime and Block” project, Stander told the audience, and ASA members are encouraged to participate in the study. The time study kit, which includes the worksheet template and instructions, is available online at www.ASAshop.org/news/asaresources.htm.

During ASRW, the operations committee also met with I-CAR about its new training program, RealParts.com regarding recycled parts, Thatcham regarding shop certification and Audatex regarding its raw bumper prep release. Stander also reported that ASA’s updated “Not-Included” charts will be available soon, and reminded everyone that the ASA Marketplace, launched last spring, has been a great upgrade to the association’s member benefit portfolio.

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Accessed through the Benefits tab at ASAshop.org, the ASA Marketplace site can be accessed 24 hours a day and allows guests to review the savings they too could be realizing with a simple guest login of “guest” and the password “asa.”

Ron Pyle, ASA president and chief staff executive, thanked everyone for attending ASRW this year, and talked about the investments these events make to the automotive service and repair industry.

“These events that are combined under the umbrella of ASRW are vital to our association’s health. They are also vital to the industry’s health,” Pyle said. “A lot of people have never really taken that (statement) to heart. We don’t boast about it; it is not necessarily becoming to tell other people how much money you are spending on activities on other people’s behalf.”

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Noteworthy, however, ASA says, is the support that is given directly by the shows through complimentary show space, as well as the money raised for charities, nonprofits and industry programs such the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG), the Collision Industry Education Foundation, the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and NATEF.

Pyle told participants that the work begun at this year’s show would continue, including the new ASRW Association Leadership Summit. In addition, the association would continue to operate in the “new normal,” as well as work to assist ASA members and other industry professionals make the needed adjustments to thrive in this post-recessionary economy, through these events and others at the national and local level.

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