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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

The Indiana Autobody Association (IABA) and fourteen Indiana collision repair shops filed legal action against twelve property and casualty insurance companies and their subsidiaries on April 2, 2014.

Car owners are showing up to area auto body shops with hail damage on their vehicles. For video go here

Spanesi Americas has donated a Multibench 12, valued at $25,000, to the Waubonsee Community College Auto Body Repair program of Sugar Grove, IL, winner of the 2013 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant from the Collision Repair Education Foundation. In addition to the company’s in-kind equipment donation to the school, Spanesi Americas managing director Timothy Morgan has also made a $1,000 personal donation to the organization.

“The Spanesi family has always been dedicated to education, as I am myself. And knowing that over 80 percent of the repairs performed today in a collision facility don’t need the traditional ‘frame rack,’ we felt it necessary to donate to the Education Foundation what shops are making ‘real world’ repairs on now and in the future,” said Morgan.

“Helping give students and a school equipment that meets today's and tomorrow’s needs through the Foundation’s Makeover is something I am no stranger to, participating through past companies I managed and continuing to support personally.”

On February 14, 2014, 13 students from Penta Career Center in Perrysburg, OH, earned top awards at the SkillsUSA Regional Competition in Tiffin, OH.

All award winners will advance to the SkillsUSA Ohio State Leadership and Skills Conference in Columbus, OH, on April 15 and 16, 2014. First-place (gold medal) winners included: Charles McCaw (Swanton), Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, for the Precision Machining contest and Jared Coker (Genoa), Welding, for the Welding contest.

Seven students earned second-place (silver medals), including Derrick Perry (Perrysburg), Automotive Collision Repair, for the Automotive Refinishing contest, and Colby Roseman (Otsego), Automotive Collision Repair, for the Collision Repair contest.

SkillsUSA is a national organization for high school students who are training for careers in trade, industrial, technical, and health-related occupations. The organization provides quality educational experiences such as leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and character-development skills.

Auto body shops in the Cleveland area of Northeast Ohio are said to be facing overwhelming demands this winter. A Touch of Class Auto Body Inc. off Brookpark Road has a five-week wait list for new customers, and several other body shops around the Cleveland area are experiencing the same overwhelming demand.

“Any shop that’s doing this right now…I know no body likes to hear this, but any shop that’s doing any type of quality work we’re all so far behind it isn’t funny,” said Kevin Harrison, the owner of A Touch of Class. “It’s been so busy we actually put on a second shift of employees because the overload has been just five-weeks out all the time.”

Harrison said another factor is the demand for parts. “They’re having trouble getting parts from Columbus to Cleveland, Pittsburgh to Cleveland, so that delays us even more,” he explained.

“So sometimes you tell a customer a car will be done in two or three days, but the next thing you know it’s four or five days because we’re still waiting for parts.”

Auto shops’ businesses in Illinois are booming because of the large number of cars damaged in storm-related accidents.

Zara’s Auto Body Shop in Springfield, IL, said they have had an average of 100 cars in their lot to fix since the region started getting hit with winter storms in January 2014.

That’s good for business. But the shops are seeing a shortage of new OEM parts from manufacturers.

“If the new parts aren’t available, not only are we in the same position lacking parts, but so is every other body shop in the country trying to find those same parts, so they aren’t even available a lot of times in the salvage yards anymore,” said Kim Woolard, a customer service representative at Zara’s.

Todd Liston says he’s fixing double the usual number of cars this year at Auto Body Specialists in Rockford, IL. The surge in business started in 2013, but has accelerated from the January 2014 storms. State Farm Insurance reported a 20 percent jump in their car insurance claims from December 2012 to December 2013.