Midwestern News

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

Collision repairers from six states are pursuing legal action against insurers for alleged antitrust violations and collusion by making deals with preferred body shops to reduce labor costs, and interfering with body shops’ business by dictating how they do repairs. There are also allegations that shops are being forced to use substandard repair parts. The body shops are seeking damages from the suits that could amount to damages in the billions. See Indiana Autobody Association and Indiana Shop Owners File Suit to Block Tortious Interference for more details.

David Michael Kepner, owner of Smash Auto Body in Jordan, MN, has been charged in Scott County District Court with first-degree drug possession and sales, a felony.

According to court documents:


Southwest Metro Drug Task Force commander Phil Nawrocki executed a search warrant at the business, which also includes Absolute Towing, on May 13. A pipe, loaded syringe and large wad of money was found and the pipe field-tested positive for methamphetamine.

read rest of story HERE

Grassy Auto Parts in West Liberty, KY, is the newest automotive recycler to join with the Team PRP nationwide network of quality-minded recyclers, which brings Team PRP membership to an impressive 139 locations across the country.

In addition to their primary location in West Liberty, Grassy owns two additional locations: Bluegrass Auto Parts in Lexington, KY, and Auto Parts Outlet in South Charleston, WV. Between 3,000 and 5,000 vehicles are kept at these locations, and close to 50 employees work with the company.

“Grassy Auto Parts has an excellent reputation in the Kentucky and West Virginia area as a high-quality, customer service-oriented auto parts recycler,” commented Charlie Martin, Team PRP North American regional director. “Their business model aligns well with the vision and high standards of the Team PRP organization as we continue to expand geographically. The addition of their three stores extends coverage for the Kentucky and West Virginia repair community."

“We feel that joining with Team PRP is an excellent opportunity to expand our business in a way that is more unified with other quality recyclers,” explained co-owner Kristin Allen. “Being part of Team PRP holds all of us to a higher standard, and we are proud to be recognized with a distinguished group in our industry.”

Pat Johnson, a cigarette-puffing Martinsville body shop owner, cut ties with insurer State Farm last November, fed up with its requirement that he buy vehicle parts through its online PartsTrader site instead of using his own longtime suppliers.


The current wait time at Yach’s Auto Body in Wausau, WI, is, believe it or not, only a week to a week and a half, but president Henry Yach III says this has been their busiest winter yet.

From fender benders to roofs collapsing on cars, Yach’s Auto Body has seen it all this season as the record-breaking cold ushered in a whole new set of auto body problems.

“A lot of vehicles now have plastic parts, and so in the warm temperatures they’ll flex, but in the cold they’ll shatter,” Yach explained.

Yach says they’ve seen an increase in the number of people bringing in their cars for light damage. A trend he attributes to people heeding warnings and traveling at slower speeds.

Another common story Yach says he’s been hearing from customers is about those bigger than life snowbanks. He says since the snowbanks are so dense from all the melting and re-freezing, when cars hit them it’s almost like hitting a concrete wall.

Marshall Auto Body in Waukesha, WI, has received the 2014 Wisconsin Sustainable Process of the Year award by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council. Their business model is centered on customer value and eliminating or minimizing as much waste activity and material as possible. These changes have meant less waste to recycle, lower energy consumption, lower material usage, and the ability to get the bulk of their electrical power from a large 72kW solar panel array.

Eight years ago, the company implemented a lean manufacturing system that helps them to find and eliminate waste, surface problems, and even increase use and throughput. Along with their work in eliminating waste, the company monitors their energy usage and makes that available online through their e-gauge. Marshall has partnered with H&H Group Holdings (another Green Maters Participant) to install solar panels at their facility. Their monitoring system allows them to plan for and minimize peak demand for energy consumption. Marshall Auto Body hopes to be carbon neutral by 2016.