DARCARS painters rely on BASF Onyx HD to produce factory-like finishes on the vehicles they repair.
When it comes to running a successful collision repair shop, there are many important decisions to be made, including the selection of a high-performance paint.
DARCARS Automotive Group
Type: Collision Repair
DRP Programs: Eight
Over the years, DARCARS Automotive Group has found that by using BASF’s R-M Onyx HD line, their body shops have increased cycle time, saved costs and enhanced customer satisfaction.
Located on the East Coast of the United States, DARCARS was established in 1977 by John Darvish Sr. The family-owned and operated business has now grown to include more than 23 locations and 10 collision repair facilities in Maryland, Virginia and Florida. DARCARS represents more than 30 brands and is one of the largest automotive dealerships in the United States.
This past summer, the company opened its tenth body shop, three of which are Toyota certified. “I think we’re unique due to our sheer size and the volume we do,” said Chris Booker, corporate director of collision center operations. DARCARS repairs approximately 20,000 cars a year and total annual sales are about $40 million.
BASF Onyx HD was designed to reduce processing time in the shop and provide a faster spray time and quicker drying times, which Booker said ultimately improves throughput and lowers labor costs. In regard to cycle time, the application time of Onyx HD is 3.2 minutes, flash-off time is 8.4 minutes and process time is 11.6 minutes.
When Booker first joined DARCARS two years ago, the collision repair shops were already using BASF Onyx HD and he was familiar with the paint line from his previous job. “It’s a solid performing product,” said Booker. “Onyx HD plays a strong role in cycle time. The product’s application and finish times are minimal, allowing us to refinish more cars throughout the day.”
Computerized mixing of the BASF Onyx HD product helps DARCARS offer their customers an optimum color match.
Booker said BASF offers very good service and backs their product very well, too, including online and phone support as well as workshops and hands-on training; BASF technicians conduct regular educational sessions at DARCARS. Depending on their specific needs, BASF will come in as needed and work alongside the 15 painters employed at the collision centers.
In addition, quarterly meetings are held with the collision shops’ managers. “BASF comes and lets us know how we are doing as far as product usage compared to our competitors,” said Booker.
He said the training and information provided by BASF has been very beneficial. “It allows us to find out if we’re using too much clear, compared to how many cars we’re repairing per month,” said Booker. “We’ll go over the usage reports for the quarter and see if we are in line on primer or clear coat, etc. It’s very helpful.”
As a result of BASF’s assistance, DARCARS has cut back on their paint usage by 10 percent compared to 2014. This helps with cost savings and saves an enormous amount of time for technicians, ultimately strengthening their bottom line.
Booker’s advice to other shops in the industry is to utilize the tools offered by BASF. “You can have BASF techs come out to your shop to mentor your employees and make sure they aren’t overusing product,” he said. “This coaching can help your technicians learn how to pre-manage the color match process, which saves time and product.
“They provide so much support that anywhere in the paint process, whether it is in the body shop or the paint shop, they have people to help you solve whatever problem you are having,” Booker added.
DARCARS Collision Center in Rockville, Maryland is one of the company's 10 collision repair facilities.
Onyx HD can be matched to both solventborne and waterborne OEM coatings. It also keeps the shop compliant with today’s stringent VOC regulations, and allows them to offer clients an environmentally-friendly product.
In addition to helping customers find a vehicle to purchase at one of their dealerships and repairing vehicles that have been in a collision, DARCARS also supports the local community.
Throughout the year, the company sponsors a variety of events such as the Annual Walk Off Parkinson’s. More than 100 employees have participated in the 1.5 mile walk each year. The company held its first DARCARS Family Day in 2015 to reinforce the importance of families spending time together.
“For the first time in history, we shut down all of our stores and invited our employees to bring their families to Kings Dominion for the day,” said John Darvish Jr.
Other events sponsored by DARCARS include food festivals such as Taste of Georgetown and Taste of DC as well as fundraisers for cancer research.
With an emphasis on fostering strong family and community relationships, Booker said the employees really enjoy taking part in the community events planned by DARCARS, which help them bond and socialize. “It’s good for employees to take a break and get out together,” said Booker. “When we first started
DARCARS, we never imagined we’d been fortunate enough to partner with so many causes near and dear to our hearts in the communities we serve.”