B&M Auto-Craft Collision Acquired by Lift Auto Group

After nearly four decades of running a successful operation, owners Tony and Antonio made a difficult decision to sell their business to Lift Auto Group.

by David Ribeiro

After 36 years of business, owner/operators Tony Murazzo and Antonio Beninteso have exited the collision repair business. They are well-known and respected in the Burnaby community, where they operated and expanded their business. Although the business will continue, it is important to recognize and discuss the changing landscape of the collision industry.

On March 3, 2023, the family members who participated in the development of this family-run operation over the past three and a half decades posed for a final photo (see above).

Their story is of immigrant entrepreneurs who took calculated risks to grow from a small operation to a profitable independent shop with 9,000 square feet of collision repair space. Many independent shops are deeply rooted within communities and have helped forge great relationships with their local clientele.

B&M Auto-Craft Collision was well-equipped, and its staff well-trained, giving their customers peace-of-mind and the knowledge that their vehicles were being repaired to the highest safety standards. Tony’s departure is also personal for me, given that in 1979 Tony and I completed our autobody training together at the Vancouver Vocation Institute, where we continually argued about who finished top-of-class.

Given today’s challenging business landscape, independent shops compare profitability against work-life-balance. One of the many challenges that B&M Auto-Craft Collision faced was finding and retaining top talent. As Tony said, his company’s success came from “having the right people on staff and partners in industry.”

Tony continues to be optimistic about the future of the collision repair industry, but he notes that the industry needs to do a better job of connecting with youth and develop trade programs at the high-school level to attract talent and promote the trade. 

After decades of running a successful operation, Tony and Antonio have sold their business to Lift Auto Group, a Canadian consolidator of collision repair facilities. This should not come as a surprise, as all indications point towards continuing consolidation of the collision industry.

In 2021, PwC released the Collision & Glass Repair in BC Post-Implementation Business Review (PIBR) of ICBC Suppliers, which confirmed the following trend: “The Canadian Collision Repair industry continues to consolidate, with the top 10 Canadian Collision competitors increasing their scale over the past five years.”

The report continues: “Since 2012, the market share held by Canada’s largest 10 companies has grown by over 50%, reaching 78%. This same group operates roughly 30% of the Collision Repair industry’s facilities, which have also nearly doubled in the same time period.” 

The above information is dated, but one factor remains true: “Consolidation is expected to continue as large banner/ franchise networks and MSOs gain more control of the market through acquisition of independents and receive support from private equity and investment firms.” 

Lift Auto Group’s CEO, Mark Reineking, identified several factors influencing the trend towards industry consolidation, chiefly the increasing costs needed to keep equipment up-to-date and technicians trained to ensure vehicles can be repaired to OEM standards, as well as the increasing administrative support required at a shop.

Often, consolidators can execute on the above factors in a more cost-effective manner than independents can, offering them a competitive advantage. Mark said, “A rapidly evolving industry, with the added difficulty of navigating the pandemic, has led a number of owners to reconsider the timing of their eventual exit plan, and that is where Lift is able to step in and provide a succession solution for owners, as well as peace of mind that the shop’s legacy will be continued.”

Cover photo Left to right (back row): partners Tony Murazzo and Antonio Beninteso, Paolo Beninteso, Michael Murazzo, and Little Tonino Murazzo; (middle row) Mary Murazzo, Nonno Michele Murazzo, and Nonna Lidia Murazzo; (front row) Robert Murazzo and Carmela Murazzo. Missing from the photo are Antonio’s wife Ada Beninteso, Marco and Michelle Beninteso, Massimo Beninteso, Stefano and Liana Beninteso, Debbie Beninteso, and Amanda Murazzo.