BEFORE THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION
Petitioner, ) FINDINGS OF FACT,
: CONCLUSIONS OF LAW,
v. ) AND FINAL DECISION
MOTOR VEHICLE ENFORCEMENT ) Appeal No. 93-0567
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.
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 Ford Pickup truck, 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 vehicle was ultimately sold to Petitioner.
5. Petitioner and Respondent agree that the subject vehicle suffered major damage to its passenger body component.
6. The front body component of the subject vehicle also suffered damage in the collision, consisting of damage to both fenders, the hood, radiator support, and other incidental damage.
7. In order to determine whether the subject vehicle qualified for an unbranded title, Respondent's certified vehicle inspector examined the vehicle. Based upon knowledge of repair techniques and using the Mitchell Collision Estimating Guide, the inspector determined that the damage to the front 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 an estimate from XXXXX, a local auto body shop, of the time required to repair the front body component of the subject vehicle. The estimate indicated a required repair time at less than 10 hours. XXXXX, owner of XXXXX, testified that he was familiar with various estimating guides and had based his estimate on Ford Motor Company's "Crash Estimating Guide".
9. XXXXX 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 car repair standards and estimating guides. In Mr. XXXXX's opinion, damage to the subject vehicle's front body component required less than 10 hours of labor to repair.
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. '41-1a-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. '41-1a-1001(2).)
"Major damage" means damage to a major component part of the motor vehicle requiring ten or more hours to repair or replace, exclusive of cosmetic repair, as determined by a collision estimating guide recognized by the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division. (Utah Code Ann. '41-1a-1001(3).)
"Collision estimating guide recognized by the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division" means the current edition of the Mitchell Collision Estimating Guide, Motor Estimating Guide, or an equivalent estimating guide recognized by the industry. (Draft Rule R873-22-M.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 passenger body component. Consequently, if it also suffered major damage to its front body component, it does not qualify for an unbranded title.
The law defines "major damage" as damage requiring more than ten 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 concedes that Ford Motor Co.'s "Crash Estimating Guide" is a recognized collision repair guide. Petitioner and his witnesses relied upon that guide in concluding that less than ten hours were required to repair the front body component. Although Respondent has provided higher estimates of repair time, it appears that some items were cosmetic, rather than structural, and that other items were more properly included in other repair components.
Based on the foregoing, the Commission concludes that repair or replacement of the passenger body component of the subject vehicle would require less than ten hours. Therefore, the front body component did not suffer major damage. Since the passenger body component is the only component that did suffer major damage, the subject vehicle qualifies for an unbranded title, provided all other applicable requirements are met.
Respondent's denial of Petitioner's request for such an unbranded title is reversed. 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
NOTICE: You have twenty (20) days after the date of the final order to file a request for reconsideration or thirty (30) days after the date of final order to file in Supreme Court a petition for judicial review. Utah Code Ann. ''63-46b-13(1), 63-46b-14(2)(a).