CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts announced it had a record year in sales, growth and industry performance in 2014, hitting North American revenue of $712 million – up nearly 10 percent from $649 million in 2013. Also, that the year ended with exceptional same store sales in North America – up 11.3 percent over the previous year.
In addition, CARSTAR’s insurance carrier volumes increased 11 percent over 2013, and it added 179 DRPs to its network. CARSTAR also benefited from upwards of 50 national vendor programs that delivered to the CARSTAR system in 2014 nearly $6.5 million in rebates, rental benefits and paint conversion/retention incentives.
“That growth is fueled by several key factors,” said CARSTAR CEO David Byers. “We’ve seen increases in repair volumes from the top 25 insurance carriers, driven by CARSTAR’s EDGE Performance platform and continued KPI performance. We are seeing higher repair values as consumers continue to purchase new cars. And, weather has played a role, with numerous hail storms throughout the country, heavy rain in the coastal areas and early snowstorms through the midwest and northeast.”
CARSTAR states that it is the only MSO in the country that has an aluminum certification program. It is continuing to roll out its aluminum plan to its 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.
“We are already seeing repair volume for aluminum repair grow in key markets, particularly in those areas with higher ownership of the Ford F-150 and more exotic cars like the Tesla,” said Byers. “As the auto industry evolves to meet CAFÉ standards, and more aluminum vehicles enter the marketplace, 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 claims its proprietary EDGE performance system has helped many of its stores achieve the industry’s highest KPIs. According to the MSO, many of its locations repeatedly have a Net Promoter Score (NPS) exceeding 90 percent – 10 points higher than the industry average, CARSTAR says. CARSTAR also claims its network driveable cycle time and closing ratio lead the industry as well.
The operations team has expanded the EDGE Performance Platform for 2015, including 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 are currently in pilot with ADO training to release to the system by end of first quarter 2015.
The Romans Group LLC has published its rankings of the largest collision repair MSOs in North America, and CARSTAR came out on top. With more than 430 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, CARSTAR continues to be ranked as the No. 1 largest MSO.
CARSTAR also once again earned a spot in Franchise Times’ annual Top 200 ranking of the largest franchise systems in the U.S. CARSTAR is now ranked 112 on the list, compared to a ranking of 117 in 2013. The move up was due in part to increases in both sales and unit growth.
Branding Programs and Community Involvement
CARTAR has been rolling out a new branding program in stores across the country, and much of the network is in process. 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 completed a number of philanthropic programs in 2014. Across the country, CARSTAR 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. The MSO is a major participant in the NABC It Can Wait campaign to eliminate distracted driving, recognized the country’s active duty military members and veterans through the CARSTAR Military Month and repaired nearly 20 vehicles through the Recycled Rides program for deserving military members.
CARSTAR is actively seeking new franchisees. Interested parties should contact Scott Robertson, vice president of development, at [email protected] or (888) 505-6815.