Thursday, 10 May 2018 20:20
Featured in AUTOBODYNEWS
NOTE: This June SPS profile was originally published in print in June 2018 and online in May 2018.
Ultimate Collision in Edison, NJ, opened its doors for business in 1988.
Location: Edison, NJ
Company At A Glance…
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 28
In Business Since: 1988
DRP Programs: Six
Number of Locations: One
Combined Production Space: 10,000 square feet
“I grew up in this industry, and there’s nothing I can’t do,” said shop owner Jerry McNee. “My focus is on correctly repairing cars. We stand up for our customers behind the scenes and make sure the work is done correctly as advertised.”
The 10,000-square-foot facility employs 28 industry professionals, most of whom are I-CAR Platinum-certified and ASE Master Technicians. They repair an average of 130 vehicles monthly, servicing six DRPs. Ultimate Collision also offers towing, storage, paintless dent removal and car rental services.
“We’re equipped with everything you can imagine needing,” McNee said. “From welders and frame machines to our measuring system and aluminum dent pullers, we have it all.”
McNee depends on Reliable Automotive Equipment for all of the best products in the industry to enable him to do what he does best—repair cars. In addition to being I-CAR Gold and ASE-certified, Ultimate Collision has received more than a dozen OEM certifications and training from Honda/Acura, Audi, Bentley, Cadillac CT6, Chrysler, Ford F-150, Porsche, Tesla, VW, Nissan, Nissan GTR, Jeep, Fiat, GMC, Hyundai BMW and Volvo.
In fact, McNee said, “Ultimate Collision has more OEM certifications than any other shop in New Jersey, according to the Variable Rate System.”
The quest for OEM certification led McNee to strengthen his relationship with Reliable Automotive Equipment, which began sporadically almost two decades ago.
“I dealt with Dave here and there over the years, but in the past 10 years, I’ve really started relying on him because he holds the keys to a lot of equipment needed for OEM certification,” McNee said. “The majority of Reliable’s tools are approved by multiple OEMs, so it saves us time and money because we don’t have to invest in similar products that aren’t used on as many vehicles.”
McNee believes OEM certification is a huge part of the industry’s future.
“Over the next 10 years, I see a decrease of 10,000 to 18,000 shops in the U.S. because they won’t be able to keep up with the technological advancements, tooling and equipment needed for OEM certifications,” he said. “Nearly 80 percent of shops in this country are not properly equipped, and the manufacturers noticed what’s taking place. Inadequate aftermarket parts are used, and repairs are improperly performed. This hurts the OEMs’ and industry’s reputation, so they are taking a proactive stance—and it’s going to put shops out of business.
“OEM-recommended procedures have been the biggest thing on the industry’s mind since the John Eagle case. Yet the insurance companies and adjusters don’t seem to know or care; it’s a bean-counting situation coming from upper management at an insurance company. We fare better than most because we educate our customers and appraisers, but most shops eventually give up because the insurance companies continually ignore market conditions.”
Reliable Automotive Equipment provides Ultimate Collision with the industry’s best to ensure proper, safe repairs to OEM specifications.
Restoring vehicles to their pre- accident condition is the top priority at Ultimate Collision. McNee has even been utilizing VeriFacts for a random monthly audit of vehicles since 2012.
“They check the disassembly, repairs, storage, equipment and use of OEM procedures, all of it, and provide coaching as needed,” he said. “Not many shops are willing to open themselves up to that level of scrutiny, but we police these cars as if they were our own, following all repair procedures.
“It’s imperative that we offer top quality repairs to ensure our customers’ safety, and in order to do that, we must have the proper tools. When we need something, we call Reliable Automotive Equipment. Dave is always eager to bring us what we need and to provide the necessary training on the equipment. He’s always there for us when we need something, and my team really likes the products. It does wonders when you have the right equipment for the job.”
Ultimate Collision also makes sure it has the right equipment to stay on the cutting-edge of eco-friendly efforts. In addition to spraying with BASF Glasurit 90-line waterborne paints, Ultimate sprays with nitrogen-enriched air and utilizes LED lights throughout the facility. McNee has also installed 98 solar panels on the roof to provide an environmentally conscious means of powering the facility.
McNee initially studied welding during his voc-tech education, but switched to auto body and found that it came easy to him. After graduating in 1981, he worked in a few shops and was eventually in line to be promoted to management. However, questioning the security of the position, he realized, “If I could do it for someone else, under those conditions, I could certainly run my own shop for myself!”
McNee opened Ultimate Collision in 1988, driving an hour to work each day and building his business from nothing. Eventually, he built his new location in 2000 and started expansion plans six years ago, finishing his addition, a truly start-of-the-art facility, in March 2017.