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

To view a pdf file of this article with photos, click HERE.

A trip across North America that was four years in the planning came to an abrupt stop in Detroit, MI, for Gaby and Jackson Richards, an adventurous couple from Australia. Driving a 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara, shipped from their home in Brisbane, Queensland to the U.S. for the anticipated year-long journey, the Richards’ vehicle was hit on the right side in a car accident in Detroit.

“It was only a couple of days after New Year’s, and we had just visited Eastern Market when the accident occurred,” said Gaby Richards. “Fortunately, no one was hurt and the car was still drivable.”

The Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) are warning Michigan drivers that they may have unknowingly purchased fraudulent automobile insurance certificates from an unlicensed individual reportedly issued through Tennessee Christian Motorist Aid, the Insurance Journal recently reported.

An OFIR investigation found that Mervin Graber, an unlicensed individual, was selling bogus policies through Tennessee Christian Motorist Aid.

OFIR ordered Mervin Graber and Tennessee Christian Motorist Aid to cease and desist from conducting unlicensed and fraudulent insurance activity.

“Any driver who purchased fake auto insurance from Mervin Graber needs to purchase legitimate coverage immediately,” OFIR Commissioner Kevin Clinton said. “Right now they’re driving without insurance.” OFIR can assist consumers in determining whether they have proper auto coverage. OFIR has handed the results of its investigation over to the proper law enforcement agencies.

Central Collision Center, a family-owned and operated collision repair business in Chicago, has announced that Tiger Cellini and Broadway Auto Body Rebuilders, Inc., will join the Central Collision Center of Crete team.

Beginning March 1, 2013, Broadway Auto’s customers can receive service at any of the six Central Collision Center locations in Peotone, Mokena, Crete, New Lenox, Oak Forest and Tinley Park.

Kent Cogswell, with more than 30 years in the parts business, is the Parts Manager and Warehouse Operations Manager for Jack Phelan Dodge of Countryside, just outside of Chicago. Cogswell, 52, has spent decades working as the largest parts Mopar wholesaler in the Midwest and is currently operating from a 35,000-square-foot stand-alone facility where they stock over 14,000 different parts totaling over $1.5 million in inventory. They have a staff of 30 and a fleet of 15 delivery trucks and have sold over $150 million in Mopar parts.

The Chicago market became part of State Farm’s PartsTrader pilot program in December. As a parts supplier, Jack Phelan Dodge is not a preferred PartsTrader provider, but a fax-only supplier and they have hundreds of customers ordering through PartsTrader. Cogswell said he has first-hand knowledge that many of the large suppliers in Chicago are also fax-only suppliers.

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 09:49

Two Illegal Body Shops Shut Down in Detroit

The city of Detroit recently shut down six businesses as part of its “Operation Compliance” program which aims to curb enterprises operating without proper permits.

The Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department joined police and fire departments in padlocking and sealing the entrances of six businesses—two auto repair shops, two tire stores, a junk yard and a wood-pallet company—accused of operating without proper licenses and permits.

“Our objective is to bring every business in Detroit into full compliance with the law,” Mayor Dave Bing said. “Proper permitting and ordinance compliance is essential to operating a business in our city.”

The initiative aims to close an average of 20 illegal businesses per week, Bing said. Police said they can be tied to illegal weapons, stolen goods or drugs.

“We are sending a message that if you are doing business in the city, you need to follow the law,” said Nathan Ford, director of the Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department, in a statement.

The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, Minnesota (AASP-MN) recently raised over $7,000 in its 2013 fundraising campaign to support the AASP-MN Automotive Education Fund.

The majority of money was raised at the association’s annual Race for Automotive Education, held Jan. 15-16 at ProKart Indoors in Burnsville. The proceeds will fund scholarships for automotive students enrolled in NATEF-certified mechanical and collision repair programs in Minnesota. 

During the course of the two-night event, 105 racers tore up the track in state-of-the-art European karts, reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour. Many fans and spectators were also on hand to cheer their teams on. Twenty one teams of mechanical and collision repair shops and industry suppliers were represented.