CARSTAR announced that it has achieved a record year for the company in sales, growth and industry performance. At the 2014 SEMA Show, the MSO shared its performance highlights and discussed its outlook for the year ahead.
CARSTAR ended September with same store sales up 11.4 percent over the previous September. For the third quarter, CARSTAR states that it delivered some of the industry’s highest same-store sales and is looking ahead to record revenue for 2014. CARSTAR finished the quarter with same stores sales up 8.3 percent over that quarter in 2013, and is on track to deliver more than $650 million in revenue for the year, a record for the company.
“That growth is fueled by several key factors,” said David Byers, CEO of CARSTAR. “We’ve seen increases in repair volumes from the top 25 insurance carriers, driven by CARSTAR’s EDGE Performance platform and continued KPI performance. New car purchases have remained strong throughout the year, which leads to higher repair values. Weather continues to drive repair needs, from winter ice and snow to spring hail to summer storms. And, advanced vehicle technology such as back-up cameras and on-board sensors are more expensive to repair.”
CARSTAR claims it is the only MSO in the country that has an aluminum certification program, is continuing to roll out their aluminum plan to their network, and is identifying specific CARSTAR shops in each major market that will be aluminum certified, then “load leveling” work to those stores as necessary.
“Aluminum repair will be a major differentiator in our industry moving forward,” said Byers. “As the auto industry evolves to meet CAFE standards, the shops that can deliver this advanced service will rise above those who don’t invest in training, technology and shop improvements.”
KPIs and Insurance Growth
CARSTAR says that its EDGE performance system has helped many of its stores achieve the industry’s highest KPIs. Many of the locations repeatedly have a Net Promoter Score (NPS) exceeding 90 percent – 10 points higher than the industry average, according to CARSTAR. CARSTAR also says its network driveable cycle time and closing ratio lead the industry.
CARSTAR states that its operations team has completed another round of enhancements to the EDGE Performance Platform. These include more substantial content in each Tier, a new Tier 5 focused on technical competence around aluminum, the addition of OPGs (Operational Performance Groups) that will be held regionally to support GM training, and new MPGs (Market Performance Groups), which currently are in pilot with ADO training to release to the system by end of first quarter 2015.
According to the MSO, its growth in top 10 insurance carrier volume is up an estimated 55 percent since 2010. It has added 144 new DRPs to its stores so far this year – and more of those are top 10 carriers than ever.
The Romans Group LLC has published its rankings of the largest collision repair multi-store operators in North America, and CARSTAR came out on top. With more 430 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, CARSTAR is now ranked as the No. 1 largest MSO.
Also, CARSTAR once again earned a spot in Franchise Times’ annual Top 200 ranking of the largest franchise systems in the U.S. It’s now ranked 112 on the list, compared to 117 in 2013. The move up was due in part to increases in both sales and unit growth.
Branding, Community Involvement
CARSTAR has been rolling out a new branding program in stores across the country, and much of the network is in process. the MSO says the new store branding brings a “fresh, modern look” to the store, and emphasizes areas for customer service, amenities and comfortable waiting areas.
CARSTAR also is wrapping up a number of philanthropic programs for 2014. Across the country, their stores have been raising money for their local Make-A-Wish chapters through community events, and this year that donation totals more than $135,000. They are a major participant in the NABC It Can Wait campaign to eliminate distracted driving, and they just kicked off the CARSTAR Military Month and Recycled Rides program for deserving military members.