By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario -- March 16, 2018 -- In today's Friday Fun: the auteurs of the collision repair industry, a Virgin Mary goes missing, customizing car door chimes and much, much more!
The principal of David DeFinis Auto Body & Collision in Philadelphia was recently dismayed to find the statue of the Virgin Mary that graced the front of the shop had been stolen. According to a report in the local newspaper, “DeFinis pulled up to his Upper Holmesburg autobody shop one day last week, and what he didn't see took his breath away: His guardian angel was gone.” Said DeFinis to the reporter, "She sat there for 22 years. I put her there to bless the garage the day I moved in." The statue sat in a landscaped corner of the parking lot. According to the report, this week marks the first time the statue has hasn't watched over the place since DeFinis moved into the building more than a decade ago. An appeal on Facebook has yet to turn up the statue. DeFinis hoped the post would, “More or less embarrass the person who took it. I mean, come on, we're right across the street from the church. I just can't understand why somebody would do something like this. She watched over us. We need her back.”
-In Toronto this past week an SUV slammed into the front of a home in Little Italy. A white Audi SUV had jumped the curb, crashed through a fence before slamming into the front porch. The car caused major structural damage that has left the house unsafe to live in. According to police the two people in the truck fled the scene on foot.
-You’ve got heated floors, an advanced paint system and an aluminum room. But does your shop have its own movie studio? If the answer is ‘no’, be aware that Barry’s Auto Body on Staten Island, has one up on you. The shop recently released the third in a series of humorous videos created to, “educate the public about the environmentally friendly services offered by the shop.” According to a press release the series of videos (titled, “I’ve Gotta Guy”) are “satirical videos are designed to make auto collision repair less intimidating.” According to Barry Crupi Jr., son of the founder, “we want people to know that automotive and collision repair doesn't have to be scary.” The latest video is called, "The Stain." It’s a satirical script in which a character, Vito, played by an actor, is being chastised by his father for being careless and allowing the white interior of his luxury car to become stained with an unidentifiable red substance. Vito's father (played by Barry Crupi Sr.) takes one look at the stain and smacks Vito in the head declaring, "that will never come out!" Vito, unfazed by his father's anger, assures him, "I gotta guy" The camera cuts away to Crupi Jr. standing in the showroom of the shop as he describes how they’ll use environmentally friendly products to remove the stain and return the vehicle to a good-as-new condition. A local comedian, Jen Remauro, plays another role in the video, which ends with Vito and his father revealing what the red substance is. It’s Hollywood done in-house. According to the press release previous videos in the "I Gotta Guy" series include education pieces about auto collision repair and information on how to properly file an insurance claim. Said Barry Crupi Jr., "We created the ‘I Gotta Guy’ series to relieve the stress that people feel about visiting an autobody shop. Life is stressful enough, we want people to know that automotive and collision repair doesn't have to be scary." It’s good to have fun at work. The production value on the videos is impressive, professional. If the Crupis ever get out of the collision repair business they’ve clearly got a future in the movie business. The videos can be seen on the YouTube channel that Barry's Auto Body maintains here: http://bit.ly/2FF1qxP
-This is a custom modification you don’t see everyday: Some wiseguy changed the door open chime on a Volvo to an 8-bit audio version of “Africa” by Toto: http://bit.ly/2FJtagw
-Windsor police are using a large grey van with officers in the back to catch distracted drivers. An officer sitting in the back of a big grey van managed to catch 114 people last week according to the Windsor Star. The report says, “The stealthy, unmarked van with dark, tinted windows was the setting for Project Dial Tone, a police initiative aimed at stopping distracted drivers.” An officer sitting in the back of the van takes photos of distracted drivers in action, then lets traffic enforcement police know who to pull over according to the Star. Apparently news of the undercover van spread quickly online.
-Major global accountancy PWC released a report this week noting that twenty percent of Saudi women, about three million, will be driving by 2020. The Saudi regime recently granted women the right to drive starting June of 2018. The shift will see the Saudi car market explode in size. New job openings will appear and new capital investment in infrastructure will occur. Insurance companies will bring in new revenue and will be the, “catalyst for the creation of new, women-only driving schools.” The report noted that female drivers will also have a significant impact on areas ranging from car sales to motor insurance. Car sales are expected to grow by 9 percent each year until 2025 according to the report. That’s remarkable growth by any measure. The growth presents, "an array of opportunities for market players and investors.” Clearly, equity pays.
-GM announced it will run a pilot program this summer that will enable car owners to rent out their vehicles when they aren't using them. The program is being called an Airbnb for cars (Airbnb is a digital app that allows homeowners to rent out their property for short stays). According to a report, “The tests will begin in early summer through GM's Maven car-sharing unit. GM vehicle owners will be able to put their cars on Maven's platform for other drivers to rent and share the revenue with the automaker.” The story goes on to note the pilot marks another “step forward in GM's transition from manufacturer to mobility provider. After GM's stock stagnated for years as investors fretted over peaking car sales and Silicon Valley's offensive on the auto industry, the shares rose to a record high in October as its self-driving car plans and services like Maven gained traction with investors.” GM was once the archetype of corporate bureaucratic sluggishness, but the company has hustled to keep up with the new major trends flooding through the auto industry, and is getting credit for that.
-British Columbia Attorney General David Eby claimed this week that massive payouts to repair high-end exotic cars is not the reason for the massive losses at the state-run insurer, ICBC. A story notes a court case involving an $800,000 repair bill to fix a crashed 1990 Ferrari F40. The minister was asked about the case in the B.C. legislature last Monday. Eby claimed there is still some work to do to protect drivers of ordinary cars from subsidizing the high costs of repairing high-end vehicles, but the provincial auto insurer's cost overruns aren't due to fixing fancy sports cars. Eby was quoted as saying, "I'm assured that we're at a place with luxury cars where they are now paying for themselves, plus profit for ICBC.” It is the case that Vancouver is home to a high number of exotic cars. A recent report suggested Vancouver has more exotics per capita than any other city in North America. The former B.C. Liberal government in 2016 began to refuse to sell collision insurance to drivers with vehicles valued at more than $150,000. At the time the government cited the high cost of repairs. Since then the owners of exotics have had to turn to private insurance companies for coverage.