Happy Year! Here's phone top stories of 2021

Repairer Driven News readers this season gravitated to the industry-centered COVID-19 coverage, that is understandable.

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

It would be a rough year, and we hope our coverage helped some of you find the company intelligence required to make it through 2021.

One of our more rewarding moments was being in a position to tell a lot of you — the story drew more than 24,700 unique pageviews — the March 2021 federal determination that auto repair was an important business. This guidance, while nonbinding, might have helped deter local and state governments from shutting down body shops like a COVID-19 precaution. It hopefully gave a number of you peace of mind too.

But we think everyone’s had enough COVID-19 for now. Therefore we thought we’d for this year revise the terms of our top stories and present the top five articles produced in 2021 by Dec. 30 that didn’t deal with the coronavirus.

Note: All links above and below capture stories at a particular moment in time. Information within the various articles hyperlinked to and discussed here was as accurate as we could get it at the time of publication. But things may have changed – particularly OEM repair procedures or information associated with COVID-19 rules, programs, best practices, protection, etc. – between then and today. So treat this because the retrospective it is quite than assume articles from, say, Jan. 1, 2021, reflects the state of the planet or even the best plan of action in Jan. 1, 2021.

And now, here’s your 5 best:

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 a quote from the Select Service repairer, but the claimant “is under no obligation to make use of that repairer.” An Illinois attorney also reported hearing of third-party claimants told to seek estimates at State Farm's direct repair program network. Find out more.

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

An Allstate Good Hands collision shop has taken exception to some DRP background check authorization request they say would expand the insurer's capability to research personal information. But Allstate said it hasn't changed any one of its policies also it still would not be checking credit or drug testing results, despite the contract language. Read more.

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

Toyota recently revealed the next-generation 2021 Sienna would have 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 inside a statement May 18. “The growth and development of the fourth generation Sienna would be a huge undertaking but we always worked towards a single mission-to get the best van yet.” Find out 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 Very happy to ANNOUNCE THAT EFFECTIVE JUNE 1, 2021, CORE CHARGES For those LIGHTING AND BUMPER FASCIAS HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED,” Ford wrote inside 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 2 initiatives. The programs have been in position for about ten years. Find out 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 2021-20 Wrangler a “marginal” rating around the small-overlap crash test following the impact mysteriously tipped the Jeep over on its passenger side in two test runs. FCA, who had earlier submitted a successful crash test towards the IIHS, said it had not encountered such an incident in the real-world. The four-door 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited gets 4 out of 5 stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for frontal crashes. Find out more.