Auto Service World
Feature   January 1, 2000   by Auto Service World

Bodyshop News (January 01, 2000)

Ford Motor Company Acquires Ontario Auto Recycler

Ford Motor Company has acquired a leading Canadian automotive recycler.

The move to purchase Plazek Auto Recyclers Ltd. of Caistor Centre, Ont., near Hamilton, announced by Ford of Canada, follows similar initiatives in the U.S.

“Since April 1999, Ford’s North American recycling operations have built a network of 20 premier recycling facilities run by some of the best operators in the industry,” noted David Montgomery, chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company’s recycling venture.

The initiative has potential implications in the hard parts and collision repair industries. The collision repair industry has been recently rocked by U.S. lawsuits–a well-publicized State Farm case has recently cost the company $1 billion (they have appealed)–which have caused insurers to reconsider using aftermarket body panels. Some in the automotive industry, including the Automotive Recyclers Association, have promoted used OE parts as a cost-effective alternative to new OE parts.

“Vehicle recycling represents a strong business opportunity within the automotive value chain,” said Ford of Canada president and CEO Bobbie Gaunt. “It’s another step in our goal of connecting with customers throughout the life cycle of a vehicle. In addition, Ford will provide an environmentally safe method of vehicle disposal and will expand our business to include recycled parts.”

Established in 1965 by Ed Plazek, Plazek Auto Recyclers is billed as one of Canada’s most advanced automotive recycling facilities, “processing over 5,000 vehicles a year to the highest environmental standards.”

Plazek’s facility, located near Hamilton, Ont., covers 50 hectares including 1,800 square meters of dismantling, storage and sales space. Its customers include bodyshops, repair shops, insurance companies and individuals.

Plazek offers an on-line inventory and ordering system for parts, a web site for consumer inquiries, access to a North American database of parts, and a delivery fleet for direct distribution of used parts to customers.

Ford of Canada’s director of Retail Growth and Business Development, Dean Tesser, said Ford’s involvement in the vehicle recycling business will help reduce the amount of material going to landfills. He added it is Ford’s goal to increase the recyclability of vehicles at Plazek to 90% from the current average of approximately 76%. “One of the key attractions of Plazek for Ford is its environmental track record and attitude toward conservation,” said Tesser. “Under their system, there is virtually no waste remaining to be transported to landfill.” Plazek Auto Recyclers will continue to be managed by Joe Plazek, son of the company founder.

Court Rules Against Toronto in DRP Bylaw

The Superior Court of Ontario has recently ruled against the City of Toronto, judging that bylaws banning collision reporting centers in the City from recommending bodyshops and using insurance company DRP lists are invalid.

The Superior Court held that the provisions below were invalid on the basis that they violate the insurers’ right to freedom of expression under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically, the judge quashed subsection 14(2) and section 15 in Part 6 to schedule 24 of By-Law 20-85 which:

(i) prohibit an “owner, operator or employee of such owner or operator” of a licensed Collision Reporting Centre (CRC) from recommending, or permitting any person on the premises of a CRC to recommend, a bodyshop or vehicle repair to any motor vehicle owner; and

(ii)require every owner and operator of a licensed CRC to display in the CRC three legible and conspicuous signs stating: It is expressly forbidden for any employee or official of a Collision Reporting Centre or a representative of an insurance company on the premises to recommend a body shop or automotive repair shop.

At press time, the City of Toronto had not appealed the verdict. The City did not seek injunctive relief, which, in the interim, would have prevented insurers from handing out their preferred bodyshop list.

I-CAR Offers New Enhanced Delivery Programs

I-CAR took advantage of the International Autobody Congress and Exposition to debut its Enhanced Delivery series of training programs being developed and introduced throughout the next 18 months.

The Enhanced Delivery modules (64 knowledge-based, 5 performance-based) utilize state-of-the-art communication technologies to provide superior classroom instruction. These new programs provide students the opportunity to verify the knowledge and skills they have gained through written tests and hands-on exercises.

The new delivery method incorporates the latest technology in classroom presentations, includes significantly increased technical information, and utilizes more hands-on activities for students. Enhanced Delivery programs will also include mandatory testing of students at the course site. Successful completion of the program test will be required to receive a certificate indicating completion of the program.

Along with these improvements to I-CAR training, I-CAR will also institute a process that will allow it to recognize equivalent training from other collision industry sources such as automakers, equipment and materials suppliers, and vocational-technical schools. Students who participate in training programs that qualify as being equivalent to an I-CAR Enhanced Delivery program will earn training recognition points in the I-CAR Gold Class program.

New Enhanced Delivery programs will include totally new modularized programs such as Restraints, Aluminum Welding, Structural Repair, Air Conditioning, and Damage Analysis, in addition to replacements for existing I-CAR courses.

The Enhanced Delivery Programs will be offered along with current I-CAR courses, which will gradually be phased out once the new programs become available.

NACE Reports Mission Accomplished

With a different approach to many of its programs, the International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) reinvented itself this year to continue its chain of success as the world’s largest and most important collision repair event.

The new format of “Mission: NACE 1999” included luncheons in the exhibit hall to give attendees more time to shop the trade show. For added flexibility, the congress seminar schedule was extended to include more afternoon sessions, and for the first time, seminars were offered on Sunday. The traditional NACE welcome party format was also changed to let attendees choose between two entertainment programs offered on different nights of the event.

With one day left in the show, NACE ’99 had already attracted more than 30,000 attendees, according to organizers. The NACE Expo featured 604 globally diverse companies that occupied 265,400 net square feet of exhibit space.

NACE 2000 will be held Dec. 7-10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., USA.

The Automotive Service Association, the largest international not-for-profit trade association of its kind serving the collision repair industry, sponsors NACE. For additional NACE information, contact NACE Show Management, P.O. Box 612288, Dallas, Texas, 75261, (888) 529-1641, (972) 906-6500, or visit the NACE website (

Couldn’t make it to NACE? Hearing is the next best thing

There is a full selection of audiotapes of presentations offered at NACE ’99. While the focus is largely for bodyshop owners, these presentations will undoubtedly be valuable to interested jobber personnel who want to expand their understanding of the issues concerning their bodyshop customers. Below is a partial list. A full list, and tape purchase, is available through the website at

Balancing Work And The Family

By Richard Flint. Learning how to balance your business and your home life is vital to your survival as a person.

Collision Center Management Challenge Today And Tomorrow

By Mark Matrincic. With the changing collision repair business, are you and your management
team ready for today, let alone tomorrow? You’ll learn how to define and measure your performance against industry benchmarks, and define and measure what each customer is worth.

Collision Repair Industry Future Directions

By Charles B. Baker. An overview of the collision repair industry today and a discussion of key trends in the industry that are shaping the collision repair marketplace.

Congress Opening: Mission: NACE 1999

Kevin Caldwell, NACE ’99 Chairman

Consolidation 2000 (Panel)

Tony Molla, moderator. As you enter the new millennium, learn how consolidation has affected our industry and what the future holds for this important subject. Has it had the effect on the industry that everyone thought it would have? What makes consolidation appealing to shops, insurers or customers?

Customer Diplomacy…What Is A Quality Repair?

By Johnny Mock and Mike Cerny. With competition tight and customer service important, how can your shop guarantee that a customer’s automobile is not only repaired, but that his claim is resolved?

Declassification Of Top Marketing Strategies! (Panel)

Victor Drew, moderator. Trying to promote a “Standout Image” among today’s collision repair competitors is vital to the success of your business. Evaluating your share of the market and using your advertising dollar wisely are challenging tasks for shop owners.

Since spring of 1999, Ford has built a network of 20 auto recyclers across the U.S. In December it purchased its first operation in Canada, Plazek Auto Recyclers Ltd., located near Hamilton, Ont. Photo: Automotive Recyclers Association.

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