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1HomePageMap small mw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Friday, 05 April 2013 15:32

Team PRP Expands in Ohio with Westwood

Team PRP’s nationwide network of independent automobile recyclers expanded with its newest member, Westwood Auto Parts, located in Toledo, OH.

The addition of Westwood brings the partnership total of Team PRP to 133 members.

Brothers Gary and Zale Reinstein founded and opened Westwood Auto Parts in 1977. With the intention of developing a used auto parts facility that offered readily available parts in stock, operating more like a new parts store, the brothers purchased a 150,000-square-foot abandoned foundry building on 19 acres of property and later expanded to 21 acres.

“Taking Control of Your Future” was the motto of the 2013 Bi-Annual Convention and Technology Exhibition sponsored by the Indiana Auto Body Association in Indianapolis, February 22–23. This two-day convention was a solid mix of collision repair technology, education and industry issues.

The freezing rain that hit Indianapolis the night before didn’t slow down this show one bit, although Mike Anderson, who was scheduled to open the show Friday morning, got trapped in Toronto by the storm. IABA Executive Director and manager of the Convention, Tony Passwater, took over and gave the event a great start.

Driver’s licenses for some young immigrants who came to the United States illegally are being blocked by Ohio Department of Public Safety officials’ who question whether a new federal program gives those immigrants temporary legal status, the Insurance Journal recently reported.

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices are reaching different conclusions about the status of the young immigrants because they are not getting guidance from the Department of Public Safety that oversees the BMV office, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.

A former, long-vacant 9,300 square-foot auto body shop on W. North Ave. in Wicker Park, Chicago, IL, will become a deli-style restaurant, music venue and bar.

Matt Bailey, a spokesman for Ald. Joe Moreno’s (1st) office, said that he’s heard that the space will be called “Chicago Chop Shop”  and feature a deli-style restaurant, a music venue and a bar.

“It’s been in the works for a year and a half now and the owners will be meeting with the alderman,” Bailey said.

Bailey added, “It’s a cool concept, the kind of business we are excited to bring to our neighborhood.”

In August 2011, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the owners of the building are Nick Moretti and Joe Seigle and that they are “redeveloping a 9,300-square-foot former auto body garage into a Chicago Chop Shop restaurant with 5,000 square feet of event space in the back.”

Built in 1913, the building is 200 feet west of the Milwaukee-Damen-North avenue intersection.

Superior Service Center in Eagan, MN, was recently named one of seven finalists by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the 2013 Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award.

The award honors businesses that excel in the areas of staff training and motivation, community involvement, customer service and strategy.

Superior Service Center was founded by Dan Sjolseth in 1982 as a full-service automotive facility that offers both mechanical and collision repairs. The shop now has 29 employees. Sjolseth works closely with local colleges, trade schools and technical high schools to provide internship and mentorship programs.

Superior Service Center and the other finalists will be honored at the chamber’s Small Business Summit, which will take place April 29-May 1 in Washington, DC. The winner will be announced during the event, and will receive $10,000.

“Superior Service Center is a living example of the power of free enterprise at work in our economy,” said Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Chrysler Group announced Feb. 28 it will invest nearly $374 million in central Indiana to boost production of automatic transmissions, a move the company said will create about 1,250 jobs, the Detroit News reported.

The automaker is spending $212 million on new equipment and tooling for three of its existing factories in Kokomo to produce eight-speed and nine-speed automatic transmissions. Chrysler is spending another $162 million to open a new transmission plant in the nearby town of Tipton that will produce an all-new nine-speed transmission.

“Our investments in Kokomo and Tipton are a tribute to the character of the men and women of Chrysler who survived a near-fatal experience and have embraced the challenge of building an enterprise that is able to compete with the best in the world,” CEIO Sergio Marchionne.

The latest investment brings Chrysler’s total U.S. investment to nearly $5.2 billion since Italian automaker Fiat SpA took over the bankrupt company in June 2009. Chrysler has already added some 8,000 jobs in the United States since then.