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

ABRA Auto Body & Glass announced June 27 the purchase of all 12 True Quality Collision Centers in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, and Bloomington, Indiana. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ABRA is one of the largest and fastest growing multi shop repair operators in the country.

A Kentucky resident with extensive automotive manufacturing experience has been tasked with elevating the state’s position as a global leader in the automotive industry.

The Kentucky Auto Industry Association announced Dave Tatman, former general manager of the General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, will serve as the inaugural executive director of the organization.

“I am delighted and humbled to serve as the first executive director for the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association,” said Tatman. “I am very excited to draw on my 34 years of automotive experience to work across the Commonwealth for the common good of the industry. We have long needed a united voice on matters of mutual concern, and the association gives us the platform for that voice.”

The Boyd Group announced that it has acquired a new location in Chicago, IL. Previously operated as Crawford Auto Restoration, the repair center has approximately 26,050 square feet and now operates under the Gerber Collision & Glass trade name.

"This repair center has served its neighborhood for over 50 years and will help us to further expand our market share in Chicago," said Tim O'Day, president and COO of the Boyd Group's U.S. operations. "We remain on track towards achieving our targeted growth rate of 6 to 10 percent through single store additions."

The Boyd Group is continuously looking to add new collision repair locations to its existing network in Canada and the U.S. Interested collision repair center owners should contact Kim Allen at (847) 410-600 for more information.

Police say a Hazelwood auto body worker decided to commute in a car stolen from his employer, Complete Auto Body at 6041 N Lindbergh Blvd, Hazelwood, MO.

Over a recent weekend, a coworker spotted the suspect driving the 2003 Pontiac Bonneville around his neighborhood.  His employer checked surveillance, and all the evidence was right there. Complete Auto Body General Manager Kurtis Barks said, “You see a vehicle parked behind our dumpster, watch the guy strategically move the gate, and then take off with our car. Apparently he did this once, got away with it, so he decided he’d just keep the car.”

Barks says not only did 41 year-old Ben Taylor take the Pontiac for the weekend, but he documented it on social media: “I came to find out he was actually putting pictures on Facebook where he was kind of modeling on the vehicle, and showing off to his friends.”

Taylor’s boss, along with Hazelwood Police, presented their evidence to Taylor, but he still denied it, until they showed Taylor his own meal receipts, left in the car.

“Eventually, he did come around and admit to it,” says Hazelwood Police Lt. Ron Livingston. Ultimately, police say Taylor put 78 miles on the car, and caused $3800 worth of damage.

Barks said, “Apparently he decided to go off-roading, and the right front and left front of the vehicle were messed up. We repaired all that, took care of it, we actually bought the car from the customer in order to make up for it, so there was no damage or loss for them.”

The Pontiac is now a rental car, and its former owner is now a regular customer. That’s left Taylor, who worked as a porter and car cleaner, fired and behind bars, charged with Stealing a Motor Vehicle, a Class C Felony.

Barks adds, “We’re very thankful to have great employees that actually stood up for us, and told us, and we had the right surveillance in place to catch them.”

The theft happened back in November, but charges were just filed. That’s because police were investigating a similar crime, in which Taylor was a suspect.  However, there was not enough evidence to charge him in that incident.

If a body shop is in existence for more than 30 years, people view it as a successful business and justifiably so. But, if a shop has been in continuous operation for more than 120 years—well, now it’s more like a landmark and a big part of automotive history. And that’s why folks in Missouri and throughout the country know of Niebling Auto Body, because it’s been a household name since 1892, when a German wagon maker opened his own wagon shop in St. Louis, MO.

to download this story as a PDF with photos go HERE

It all began when Louis Niebling immigrated to the U.S. and moved to West St Louis in 1887. Horses, wagons and carriages ( and good old walking) were the mainstays of transportation back then, as the industrial revolution shifted into high gear. Gasoline-powered vehicles were only for the rich and eccentric in the late 1800’s, just like the Teslas or Bentleys of today. Sure, automobiles were only for a select few back then, but the times were a-changing and pretty soon everyone wanted one of these noisy, cantankerous and expensive machines.

Russ Hoernis of Hoernis Auto Body in Belleville, IL, has created a 20-minute video and posted it on YouTube to demonstrate all of the steps in the feather, prime and block procedure that must be performed to bring a repair panel back to a new, undamaged one.