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Happy New Year! Here’s a look at the top stories of 2020

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Business Practices | Insurance | Market Trends
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Repairer Driven News readers this year gravitated to our industry-centered COVID-19 coverage, which is understandable.

Our top 20 stories of the year were nearly all coronavirus-related. Readers sought out content on keeping shops open, personal protective equipment, government aid programs, one industry partner bankruptcy, and companies taking painful steps to survive.

It was a rough year, and we hope our coverage helped some of you find the business intelligence needed to make it through 2020.

One of our more rewarding moments was being able to tell many of you — the story drew more than 24,700 unique pageviews — the March 2020 federal determination that auto repair was an essential business. This guidance, while nonbinding, may have helped deter state and local governments from shutting down body shops as a COVID-19 precaution. It hopefully gave some of you peace of mind as well.

But we think everyone’s had enough COVID-19 for now. So we thought we’d for this year revise the terms of our top stories and present the Top 5 articles produced in 2020 as of Dec. 30 that didn’t deal with the coronavirus.

Note: All links above and below capture stories at a particular moment in time. Information contained in the various articles hyperlinked to and discussed here was as accurate as we could get it at the time of publication. But things might have changed — particularly OEM repair procedures or information related to COVID-19 rules, programs, best practices, protection, etc. — between then and now. So treat this as the retrospective it is rather than assume an article from, say, Jan. 1, 2020, reflects the state of the world or the best course of action in Jan. 1, 2021.

And now, here’s your Top 5:

Top 5

“Letter, report: State Farm tells 3rd-party claimants to get estimates from Kan., Ill. DRP shops”

State Farm told the Kansas Department of Insurance it directs third-party claimants to obtain an estimate from a Select Service repairer, but the claimant “is under no obligation to use that repairer.” An Illinois attorney also reported hearing of third-party claimants told to seek estimates at State Farm’s direct repair program network. (May) Read more.

“DRP shop objects to Allstate background check request; insurer says nothing has changed”

An Allstate Good Hands collision shop has taken exception to a DRP background check authorization request they say would expand the insurer’s ability to research personal information. But Allstate said it hasn’t changed any of its policies and it still wouldn’t be checking credit or drug testing results, despite the contract language. (December) Read more.

“2021 Toyota Sienna features new body platform, more airbags, hybrid powertrain”

Toyota last month revealed the next-generation 2021 Sienna would carry a quieter, more rigid body platform and a standard hybrid powertrain. “This is an all-new vehicle from the ground up, including a new chassis platform as well as a new electrical platform,” chief engineer Monte Kaehr said in a statement May 18. “The development of the fourth generation Sienna was a huge undertaking but we always worked towards one single mission—to make the best van yet.” (June) Read more.

“Ford ends lighting, bumper core return programs at request of auto body shops, dealers”

Ford ended its lighting and bumper core return programs effective Monday. “FORD IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT EFFECTIVE JUNE 1, 2020, CORE CHARGES FOR ALL LIGHTING AND BUMPER FASCIAS HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED,” Ford wrote in a Ford Crash Parts document provided by Brandon Tripp, office and Ceramic Pro manager for Jackson, Mich.-based Tripp’s Auto Shop and Collision Center. Ford confirmed the end of the two initiatives. The programs had been in place for about a decade. (June) Read more.

“Surprising IIHS Jeep Wrangler crash test offers shops a reminder to follow best practices”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the next-generation 2019-20 Wrangler a “marginal” rating on the small-overlap crash test after the impact mysteriously tipped the Jeep over on its passenger side in two test runs. FCA, who had earlier submitted a successful crash test to the IIHS, said it had never encountered such an incident in the real-world. The four-door 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited gets four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for frontal crashes. (May) Read more.


And good riddance to 2020. (Dilok Klaisataporn/iStock)

About 120 million pounds of damaged vehicle parts have been processed through the Ford Core Recovery Program since its inception; program celebrates 10 years in 2013. (PRNewsFoto/Ford Motor Company)

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