Automotive Service Councils of California


October 25, 2013

ASCCA Proudly Announces Diamond Sponsor: KUKUI


The Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA), the pre-eminent state trade association for the independent automotive repair industry in California, is proud to announce its most recent diamond sponsor, KUKUI.


KUKUI's platform provides customers with a range of revolutionary features in one automated package, including smart web pages that are optimized to boost conversion rates; a simple-to-use Content Management System that is integrated with a shop's Point-of-Sale system and customer retention tools such as email service reminders. KUKUI also allows clients to customize their dashboards to focus on the area of their operation they most want to track - from customer reviews to missed leads. Put simply, KUKUI brings clients new customers, increase clients' ROI and decrease operating costs.


"The fact that we are based in California gives Kukui a unique understanding on what ASCCA shops need to succeed. We have employees that have several ties to the automotive industry including a former master mechanic, a former multi-million dollar shop owner, a current shop owner, and a marketing team that has over 100 years of combined knowledge in the automotive industry. Pulling all of this knowledge together makes ASCCA shops using Kukui successful," said Todd Westerlund, Kukui's President of US Operations.



KUKUI was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Silicon Valley.


To learn more about KUKUI contact Todd Westerlund, President of US Operations, 877-695-6008 (office) or 925-980-8012 (cell).




Why You Can't Sell Me a Car: A Millennial's message to automakers

By Dave Mosher


When I was a kid, my father's Kettering, Ohio, auto shop was often my daycare center. Grease-stained mechanics wielding hefty tools the size of my arm knelt down and explained their work. Some showed me how to perform an oil change and diagnose a leaky head gasket, others how to align a timing belt and replace a busted windshield. Years later, as a Boy Scout, I earned my Automotive Maintenance merit badge with ease.


I should be someone passionate about cars and their storied place in this country's culture. A wrencher who dreams of red Mustangs and racing stripes. The guy who strolls onto a lot and names a make, model, and price before a salesman can utter a single slippery word. I can fake any of these things, but I won't: Automobile manufacturers do not make cars I'd buy. Not one. And I'm not alone.


My generation-the Millennials-numbers some 90 million teens and 20- and early-30-somethings. This makes us the largest demographic cohort alive today-and the auto industry's biggest headache. We're supposed to be driving more as we age, yet young people drove 23 percent fewer miles in 2009 than in 2001. Only two thirds of 16- to 24-year-olds in 2011 even possessed a driver's license (the lowest rate since 1963). Meanwhile, nearly a third of us prefer to live in cities, where we can abandon cars for trains, buses, cabs, bikes, and our own legs.


Don't get me wrong; I savor the freedom of cars and happily borrow the one my wife bought before we married. Cars are versatile enough to drive to the grocery store one day and across a continent the next. You can toss camping gear in the trunk, blast your favorite music, roll down the windows, and put a dog in the backseat (and roll down its window too). No other mode of transportation permits the same degree of speed, comfort, and flexibility.


Yet I recoil from the idea of buying one. Cars equal liability. Accidents are practically inevitable, no matter how well you drive. They cost more and more to own and maintain, and (electric or not) they defile the environment. And good luck parking one anywhere without it getting ticketed or towed.


So what would it take you, the automakers, to sell me, a punk kid of the "expectant" generation, a car?


One, lose the driver's seat. Or at least make it optional. Cars should drive themselves. I'd rather sit in the back with some toddlers watching Finding Nemo for the 100th time or take a nap with the dog. You don't want me driving anyway. About 34,000 people in the United States died in car crashes last year. Some of these incidents are inarguably related to the 39 percent of teens who text while driving, even when they know that it's not only against the law, but also remarkably dangerous.


Instead, put robots in charge. Machines can't be distracted by text messages, music, or spilled soda. Plus, they're faster than human brains at computing the mundane information required to safely operate a vehicle. We've already seen the rollout of self-parking, lane-keeping, automatic-braking, and cyclist-collision-avoidance systems-it's time to give autonomy a try. If a small team of researchers at Oxford University thinks it can produce such a system costing $150, you're not trying hard enough. (By the way, please make sure your cars park themselves only in legal spots.)


Two, don't make me wreck the planet. I know that the metal, plastic, fuel, and other materials that make up a car originate from somewhere, typically with significant long-term costs to the environment. Even electric vehicles aren't there yet; the mining and toxicity of elements in their batteries are dubious at best. You can improve. Push your research teams harder to develop more ecologically and morally responsible alternatives. Look to advanced materials to invent cells that charge quickly like capacitors yet dissipate energy in a controlled manner so that they don't heat up or explode. If that seems crazy in the short term, follow Tesla's lead and build a dedicated, closed-loop battery recycling program.


Three, once the battery problems are solved for good-and I have no doubt that they will be-recharging an electric vehicle needs to be just as speedy and safe as pumping gas. The real challenge, then, is building a robust power grid that can withstand the escalating and enormous demand placed upon it. You carmakers have unbelievable pull with lawmakers; after all, you got them to build and maintain a national highway system for you. The ability to feed power to thousands of rapid charging stations should be well within your spheres of influence.


Four, lobby the government to feed that grid with as much electricity from renewable and environmentally friendly sources as possible: solar, wind, hydroelectric, and more. You can't sell me an electric car that runs on energy wrought primarily from fossil fuels and fusty nuclear technologies. I'm smarter than that.


Finally, make cars affordable. While older drivers registered more new vehicles between 2007 and 2011, our generation registered 30 percent fewer. That's probably because our generation continues working harder and harder for the man for little, if any, increase in pay. We can't even afford gasoline. The fuel cost about a buck a gallon when I started driving; these days, it can be priced four times that. Cheap, gasoline-free cars should be possible. Nissan-which recently let me test-drive its all-electric 2013 LEAF in New York City-shaved thousands of dollars off the car's price tag compared with last year's model. That's a good start, but it's not enough. We have seen our parents' comfortable retirements evaporate, Wall Street fail, and Detroit go bankrupt. So we'll cling to our clunkers or not drive at all until you're willing to work with our extremely slim budgets.


So there, automakers. You don't need to hire "generational experts" or spend millions on advertisements of cars that we don't want. Just listen to us, your customers. We'll be with you for a long time. That is, as long as you create affordable, environmentally redeeming vehicles that can safely drive us-and our consciences-off the lot.


About the author: Dave Mosher is the projects editor at Popular Science. This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Popular Science.


Hiring Employees Who Are More Loyal

By Josh Tolan


Are we in the midst of a loyalty crisis? Once upon a time, employees would often stay with companies for their entire working careers. Now, employers are lucky to keep workers longer than a presidential election cycle.


In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee tenure is now about 4.4 years. For Millennials, this stay is even shorter at only about 2.3 years. So it should come as no shock 91 percent of Millenials expect to stay in a job for less than three years.


The tide has turned and the age of the "company man" has passed. It's impossible to put the genie back in the bottle and find employees willing to commit a lifetime to your company. However, there are still ways to find loyal potential employees in the job market and convince them to stick around.


Here are four ways you can hire workers who won't immediately begin dreaming of greener pastures:


Offer flexibility


The most sought-after employee perk is a more flexible work environment. A recent study reported that one-third of American workers cited flexibility as the most important factor influencing their job search. A further 39% considered leaving (or had already left a job) because it just wasn't flexible enough.


Offering flexibility is a great way to entice workers into your organization; it shows you care about the needs of your employees. Since work-life balance is always a consideration, flexible work schedules help employees balance company obligations and personal time.  With all the new technology available today, from cloud computing to internal social networks, most employees can still contribute while on the go - and offering a flexible work environment is a great way to attract and retain top talent.


Prize cultural fit over qualifications


Skill and qualifications are important when hiring someone for a role at your company. But after you've weeded out the candidates all wrong for the job, perhaps cultural fit should trump fancy credentials. A study showed 46% of small-business new hires failed within 18 months, and shockingly, 89% of this failure was attributed to poor company culture fit.


When hiring, it's important to focus on whether a candidate will fit into the company culture instead of only considering if they can perform necessary job functions. Getting personal sooner in the interview process is a smart and cost-effective way to evaluate cultural fit.


Connect with job-seekers on social media or throw out the inefficient phone screen and connect using a video interview. A candidate who fits into the company culture will be more motivated, more engaged and less likely to leave.


Nurture diversity


It's a bit of a no-brainer that diversity helps organizations grow and thrive. Bringing in different viewpoints, skills, and lived experiences means a more well-rounded company with a wider vision. Workplace diversity continues to grow; in 2012 alone, 36% of the workforce was made up by people of color.


Adopting hiring practices to encourage diversity is a great way to bring more talented people into your organization and make those people feel welcome. Plus, diversity can help your organization better serve a wider range of customers and consumers.


Diversity initiatives can also make the workplace a more welcome place, which means your employees are less likely to pack their bags.


Make the career ladder scalable


What employees are really looking for is the ability to move up the career ladder. Unfortunately, not every organization makes this ladder easy to climb. Often the climb to the top can be treacherous; sometimes, it can even feel like the company is trying to push employees down a few rungs.


To entice talented candidates to join your company and stick around, offer professional development. Allow employees to gain additional skills, training, and education. By allowing employees to hone and grow their skills, you're giving workers the tools to climb the corporate ladder.


Best of all, by investing in your people the company also grows talent internally. This is a huge selling point, making your company culture more attractive and drawing the best talent to your open positions.


The era of the "company man" might be over, but this doesn't mean it's impossible to find loyal employees who will stick around to add value. To hire passionate and engaged workers, you need to get personal faster and offer perks the best people won't want to turn down.


About the author: Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire. 

In This Issue
New Member Benefit Provided by AutoZone
California Eases Burden of Frivolous Prop. 65 Lawsuits for Businesses

October Member of the Month

Danny Iwama, J & S Auto Service, Los Angeles

In his own words:

"I've always been mechanically inclined. I was the bane of my father, because I would take anything and everything apart.   I don't think there is a mechanic in the field that hasn't taken their bicycle apart and put it back together again.   In high school during the late '60s while attending an LAUSD school we were given many choices for electives and I took Auto Repair. I loved cars. I enjoyed reading Road & Track and about Can-Am and Formula 1 races.    


During the 1990's I was a member of the Compuserve "For Techs Only" forum.   I read the postings of Charlie Mulcahy, Phil Fournier, Jim O'Neil, Greg Kelly, and Scott Brown in regards to being a member of a trade organization. It was during a BAR meeting in Long Beach just before BAR97 was rolled out that I decided to join ASCCA.  


It was a good time to join ASCCA because the LA City Council was forcing their "beautification program" onto all shop owners in Downtown and South Los Angeles. The city was requiring shop owners to build a block wall around their entire facility. Through the efforts of our local ASCCA Chapter 10 South Los Angeles, we were able to prevent the city council from implementing their program.


I inherited my shop from my father who owned the shop since 1968. I took over during the early 80's. My father bought the shop from Harry Furuya who was a member of IGO.    


Every owner should participate in their local Chapter. They should share their knowledge and strengths. Whether they are knowledgeable in management or technology, any information is beneficial to our peers.  


I was fortunate to be asked to join the Government Affairs Committee.   I have been able to help direct the BAR programs that most impact my business. Through this association, I've been able to address the current BAR Chief directly, and to interact with the Program Representatives in charge of various programs. If not for my connection with the ASCCA, I would have no control over the direction my shop and industry would take."


ASCCA members like Danny are shining examples of how One Member CAN Make a Difference!

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Be Aware of Aggressive Drivers


Drivers between the ages of 18 and 25 have the highest aggressive driving tendency. Estimates are that one out of five accidents, resulting in injury, has a direct link to aggressive driving. 


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Founded in 1940, the Automotive Service Councils of California is the largest independent automotive repair organization in California. Its members represent all areas of the automotive repair industry, including mechanical, auto body, suppliers and educators.