BEFORE THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION
: FINDINGS OF FACT,
v. ) CONCLUSIONS OF LAW,
: AND DECISION
MOTOR VEHICLE ENFORCEMENT : Appeal No. 92-1890
DIVISION OF THE UTAH STATE )
TAX COMMISSION : Unbranded Title
STATEMENT OF CASE
This matter came before the Utah State Tax Commission for a formal hearing on XXXXX. Alan Hennebold, Presiding Officer, heard the matter on behalf of the Commission. The Petitioner, XXXXX, appeared on his own behalf. XXXXX appeared for Respondent and was accompanied by XXXXX of the Motor Vehicles Division.
Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, the Tax Commission hereby makes its:
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Petitioner has applied for an "unbranded" motor vehicle title with respect to a XXXXX Oldsmobile automobile, VIN XXXXX.
2. Respondent denied Petitioner's request for the unbranded title on the grounds the subject vehicle had "major damage" in more than one major component part.
3. Petitioner filed a timely appeal of the foregoing determination with the Tax Commission.
4. The subject vehicle was involved in a collision some time prior to XXXXX. The owner's insurance company determined that cost of repair was greater than the vehicle's value, paid the owner the value of the vehicle, and obtained a "salvage certificate of title". The insurance company then sold the vehicle to Petitioner.
5. Petitioner and Respondent agree that the subject vehicle suffered major damage to its rear body component.
6. The passenger body component of the subject vehicle also suffered damage in the collision, consisting of damage to floor, roof and doors.
7. In order to determine whether the subject vehicle qualified for an unbranded title, Respondent's certified vehicle inspector examined the vehicle. Based upon his knowledge of "I-Car" standards and using the XXXXX Collision Estimating Guide, the inspector determined that the damage to the passenger body compartment of the subject vehicle required more than 10 hours of labor to repair or replace. The inspector therefore concluded the subject vehicle had suffered major damage in two major component parts and did not qualify for an unbranded title.
8. At the hearing in this matter, Petitioner provided estimates from three local body shops of the time required to repair the passenger body component of the subject vehicle. Each body shop estimated the required repair time at less than 10 hours. The estimates do not set forth the repair standards upon which they are based.
9. XXXXX, of XXXXX's Body Shop, testified that he was familiar with auto body repair generally, based upon numerous years of experience. Mr. XXXXX also testified that he was familiar with I-Car standards and the XXXXX Collision Estimating Guide. In Mr. XXXXX's opinion, damage to the subject vehicle's passenger body component required in excess of 10 hours of labor to repair or replace to I-Car standards.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
To obtain an unbranded title to a salvage vehicle, the vehicle must, among other criteria, have major damage in no more than one major component part. (Utah Code Ann. §41-la-1002(1)(a)(iv).)
The "major component parts" of a motor vehicle are the front body component, consisting of the structure forward of the firewall; the passenger body component, consisting of the firewall, roof, and extending to and including the rear-most seating; the rear body component, consisting of the main cross member directly behind the rear-most seating area and structural body assembly rear of the cross members; and the motor vehicle frame, consisting of the structural members that support the auto body. (Utah Code Ann. §41-la-1001(2).)
"Major damage" means damage to a major component part of the motor vehicle requiring ten or more hours to repair to replace, exclusive of cosmetic repair, as determined by a collision estimating guide recognized by the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division. (Utah Code Ann. 41-la-1001(3).)
"Collision estimating guide recognized by the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division" means the current edition of the XXXXX Collision Estimating Guide, XXXXX Estimating Guide, or an equivalent estimating guide recognized by the industry. (Draft Rule R873-22M-.B.)
DECISION AND ORDER
Utah law sets forth specific standards for issuing unbranded titles to salvaged vehicles. By law, no salvaged vehicle may receive an unbranded title if it has major damage in more than one major component part. The law defines the terms "major component parts" and ''major damage".
Under the facts of this case, it is established that the subject vehicle suffered major damage to its rear body component. Consequently, if it also suffered major damage to its passenger body component, it does not qualify for an unbranded title.
The law defines "major damage" as damage requiring more than 10 hours to repair or replace, exclusive of cosmetic repairs. The time to repair must be based upon collision estimating guides recognized by the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division. Respondent used such a recognized collision repair guide in concluding that more than 10 hours were required to repair the passenger component. Respondent's judgment is corroborated by a similar estimate by Mr. XXXXX, an expert in auto body repair. Although Petitioner has provided lower estimates from other body shops, it is not clear upon what basis such estimates were made.
Based on the foregoing, the Commission concludes that repair or replacement of the passenger body component of the subject vehicle would require more than 10 hours. Therefore, the passenger body component suffered major damage. Since the rear body component also suffered major damage, the subject vehicle does not qualify for an unbranded title. Respondent's denial of Petitioner's request for such an unbranded title is affirmed. It is so ordered.
DATED this 18th day of May, 1993.
BY ORDER OF THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION.
R. H. Hansen Roger O. Tew
Joe B. Pacheco S. Blaine Willes