Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
Tom Kellogg—the wholesale director for the Zeigler Automotive Group’s 13 franchises in Grandville, MI—has been using PartsTrader the past several months as one of the first test markets in State Farm’s PartsTrader program.
Kellogg has been with Zeigler since 2003 and in the industry since 1975. He says he wishes programs like PartsTrader would just go away.
“We all know that PartsTrader isn’t the greatest thing out there,” said Kellogg. “I don’t know what I am going to do to stop it, because from what I understand, it’s pretty much here to stay. We’ve got to figure out how to work around it. Not enough writing was done on it. It’s just going to be the pathway of all things in the future to come. It’s PartsTrader today, and tomorrow it’s going to parts for you, parts for them, and pretty soon there’s a plethora of third-party people involved in our business,” he said.
Recently opening a new location in Chicago, CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts, North America’s largest multi-shop operator network (MSO), expanded their presence in the Chicago market with the opening of West-Hill CARSTAR in Hillside, IL.
Owned by Joseph, John and Mark Esposito, West-Hill CARSTAR is located at 4907 Butterfield Road, in Hillside, IL. West-Hill CARSTAR has been family owned and operated since John Esposito founded it in 1960 and is a proud member of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois.
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts, North America’s largest multi-shop operator network (MSO), has announced the opening of Coach & Collision CARSTAR in Cleveland, OH, bringing the total number of CARSTAR locations in Ohio to 25.
Owned by Jeremy and Theresa Orsky, Coach & Collision CARSTAR is located at 1120 Brookpark Rd. in Cleveland. They offer auto body repair, glass repair, spray on bedliners, window tinting and mechanical service.
As a member of CARSTAR, Coach & Collision CARSTAR will offer an array of services and products for collision repair, including the latest in repair technology, rental vehicles, national warranties on repairs and turnkey service for customers.
The new CARSTAR store will benefit from the CARSTAR Management System, which provides resources to improve key business metrics such as cycle time, participation in CARSTAR’s 19 corporately managed DRP programs, and improved purchasing power from 45 corporately managed purchasing programs.
ABRA Auto Body & Glass, a Minnesota–based vehicle repair company, announced Dec. 14 the acquisition of all five Collision Solutions locations in Indianapolis, IN.
The deal significantly expands ABRA’s presence in the Indiana market and increases the total number of ABRA repair centers nationwide to 132 in 14 states.
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota, an association of nearly 640 independently-owned mechanical and collision repair shops and industry suppliers, works to improve the state’s automotive service industry and the success of its members’ businesses.
In 2012, AASP-MN passed legislation to increase the damage disclosure threshold for salvage title from 70% to 80% to allow for more vehicles to be repaired and fewer to be totaled. Other issues addressed this past year include: sales tax on paint and materials, “Right to Repair,” insurer steering, DRP contract provisions for parts procurement, and air quality permits.
The Northern Michigan Body Shop Association kicked-off 2012 with Mike Anderson of Collision Advice presenting two topics to collision industry professionals. The first topic, “Educate, Not Alienate” encouraged estimators and technicians to “have the facts ready” when communicating with an adjustor, insurer, and/or customer. He explained that too often in this industry, emotions run high which tends to negatively affect the situation at hand; it’s best to be prepared with the facts, data, and “bottom-line” to be knowledgeable regarding the issue when trying to make a point—you’ll get much further when you have facts to back you up.
The Automotive Service Association in Michigan began 2012 with roundtables held throughout the state for licensed repair facilities representing both collision and mechanical industries. The meetings focused on the proposed revisions and enforcement of Public Act 300 of 1974, the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act.
“Relatively speaking, this law has not been updated since 1974 and is in desperate need of updating,” said Ray Fisher, President of ASA Michigan. “The law was created to protect consumers and repair facilities by providing ‘ground rules’ which helped to avoid frivolous lawsuits. And we are now seeing it abused during these challenging economic times with unlicensed shops advertising on Craigslist and circumventing the law.”
“It provides an unfair advantage for those who have not ‘played by the rules’ and it provides false security to consumers; exactly the reason the law was created in the first place,” Fisher said, adding that not only are they advocating for a crackdown on abusers, but also for updating the law to make it more “user friendly” for repair facilities to use.
In Ionia, MI, one family will get a Christmas gift to remember, thanks to several local businesses who worked together to refurbish a vehicle which will given to a family in need on Christmas day.
S&P Auto Body, C&S Automotive, N&N Aftermarket Parts, Geldhof Tire, Caswell RV, Fred Haight Insurance, Home Experts, Riverside Auto Wash and All Seasons Insurance Agency worked together to refurbish a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix SE.
As 2012 comes to a close, the Indiana Auto Body Association looks back on its accomplishments over the past year. According to Tony Passwater, Executive Director, “Early in our organization, we realized that being a lone state association would not be in the best interest of our prospective members. In 2005, we affiliated with the SCRS and through this relationship, have reaped many benefits and national support. In 2012, we also became an associate member of the ASA and an accredited business of the Better Business Bureau to better position ourselves not only within the industry, but to the consumer as well.”
Schoonover Bodyworks and Glass, a collision repair center based in Stillwater, MN, was recently acquired by ABRA Auto Body & Glass.
Schoonover Bodyworks, which has been in business since 1938, operated two collision repair facilities prior to the acquisition. ABRA said Schoonover will continue to operate its second location in Shoreview, MN.
Automotive refinish distributor Painters Supply & Equipment Co. (PSE) recently announced the acquisition of Potter Color and Supply, a paint distributor based in Cambridge City, IN. Potter Color and Supply has been supplying the automotive refinish and industrial coatings markets in since 1985.
“We’re pleased to welcome the Potter team to the PSE family,” said Patrick Mayette, president of PSE. “We’re excited to expand into the great state of Indiana.”
“PSE has a long history and solid reputation as one of the best automotive refinish and industrial paint distributors in the U.S.,” said Jim Potter, owner of Potter Color and Supply. “They will strengthen us to better serve our local market from a technology, product and customer service standpoint.”
With the acquisition, Taylor, MI-based PSE now operates 21 store locations throughout Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Mayette said PSE plans to continue expanding. As the industry continues to consolidate, acquisitions throughout the Midwest region of the U.S. will be a key element to the company’s growth initiatives.
Exhibitor early bird registration and pricing for the 3rd Bi-Annual Indiana Autobody Association Convention and Technology Showcase ends November 30. After November 30, prices increase by $100.
The convention will be held Feb. 22-23 in Indianapolis, IN, and will include speakers, panel discussions and live demonstrations.
The IABA is expecting record-breaking attendance from participants coming from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. Attendee registration begins early December.
Exhibitor and key event sponsorship information can be obtained at: www.IABAconvention.com