State Farm parts bidding program prompts shop unification

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July 17, 2012, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS—Concern over State Farm’s parts bidding program has caused a spike in Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) membership and prompted the formation of at least four new U.S. auto body associations, said SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg at the group’s board meeting just before the start of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC).

New associations have popped up in Utah, Idaho, Alabama and Texas. Though the banding together of shops is primarily a defensive action against State Farm’s online parts bidding and ordering program through PartsTrader, Schulenburg said it was good to see more unification in the industry.

“For that, I thank both State Farm and PartsTrader,” Schulenburg quipped. “I can tell you that I’ve had the pleasure of talking to a lot more repair shops that I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with before.”

The SCRS meeting was well attended and a few attendees expressed their concerns about the program and the need for greater inter-industry communication. State Farm’s new program, introduced in test markets this spring, has been met with widespread resistance from the industry based on concerns about its impact on shop profitability and efficiency, among many other issues. The program is scheduled to be discussed during the CIC meeting.

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