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Repairer-recycler-insurer synergy one highlight of OARA conference

Toronto Ontario — March 25 2011 — The Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association has shown a lot of leadership but it’s just as important to make sure that leadership continues. That was one of the messages delivered by Janet Taylor of Summerhill Group today at OARA’s annual conference. Taylor was there to update OARA members and other interested parties on the current state of the mercury switch out program.

The OARA conference kicked off today at the Airport Marriott Hotel in Toronto with opening remarks by Steve Fletcher OARA’s Executive Director. Fletcher introduced the event’s keynote speaker Rob Rainwater of Jerry Brown Auto Parts. Rainwater’s chosen topic was “The 14 Golden Rules for Selling Auto Parts” with the content slanted specifically for managers.

Steve Fletcher took to the podium again in the company of Rebecca Spring of Summerhill Impact to update attendees on the past present and future of the highly successful Retire Your Ride program.

Next up were Brigitte Pesant of OARA and Jennifer Barbazza of Ontario Tire Stewarship discussing the joint OTS/OARA Tire Takeback Days program.

Following was the first of two panel discussions for the day. John Aird Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (formerly OSSA) Michael Carcone of Carcone’s Auto Recycling and Lisa Sticca Thunder Bay Auto Parts discussed Health and Safety Trends in the Industry.

Lunch gave attendees a chance to tour the trade show floor. It was a valuable experience for anyone looking to make or renew personal contacts with industry suppliers.

After the lunch break Janet Taylor of Summerhill Group updated OARA members on the success of the mercury switch-out program and outlined what must happen to continue and expand the program.

John Couper of Couper Marketing Solutions spoke on essentials of Green Parts Marketing.

“The Green Parts strategy was intended to do several things. One thing we wanted to do was to elevate the brand get it away from the junkydard dog image and give it a clean green image. The other thing that it was intended to do was increase that consumer acceptance of the product as a category.”

Couper gave attendees insight into concrete fundamentals that could be put into practice in the recycling facility. In essence this means making sure the brand experience matches the brand promise.

Steve Kriter of Audatex presented on current trends in the auto insurance and collision repair industries and how those trends impact the auto recycling industry. Kriter began his presentation by noting the symbiotic relationship between collision repairers recyclers and insurers.

“By reducing average paid loss more vehicles are repaired which certainly affects collision repairers and more parts are sold” said Kriter.

Kriter presented statistics illustrating that people are holding on to cars longer leading to a decrease in salvage vehicles at auction. A sluggish economy may be at least partly responsible for this trend and is almost certainly to blame for a very disturbing trend: an increase in uninsured drivers.

“The number of uninsured motorists has climbed almost four percent since 2007. That has an impact on the number of vehicles that are being repaired” said Kriter. “As the number of vehicles being repaired goes down less parts are being sold.”

The second panel discussion of the day took place following Kriter’s presentation. The Repairer – Recycler – Insurer Roundtable was comprised of Larry Jefferies of Carstar Flavio Battilana of Collision Solutions Network and Sam Piercey of Budds’ Collision. The three answered and discussed questions from the attendees with a focus on how recyclers can sell more parts.

The day ended with a reception in the trade show area followed up by a charity casino in the support of the OARA Foundation Scholarship Fund.

The OARA annual conference continues tomorrow at the Toronto Airport Marriot Hotel.

Click here to see the photos from the first day of the OARA conference.

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