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Southwestern News

1HomePageMap small sw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, ColoradoTexas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana

According to reports by the Associated Press, General Motors Co. said June 17 that it will keep most of its U.S. factories, including the Arlington Assembly Plant, open through the normal two-week summer shutdown to meet demand for some of its vehicles.

The automaker will keep nine of 11 assembly plants open to make 56,000 more vehicles that are in high demand, such as the Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan and the Chevrolet Traverse large crossover vehicle.

GM said in a statement that the company is trying to reduce waiting time for dealers and customers to get vehicles.

In addition to Arlington, plants that will stay open from June 28 to July 9 are located in Bowling Green, Ky.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Hamtramck, Mich., Kansas City, Kan.; Flint, Mich.; Delta Township, Mich.; Lansing, Mich.; and Wentzville, Mo.

Automakers have traditionally shut down plants for short periods during the summer while switching production of model years and to manage vacation time for workers.

Dime-sized hail dents to vehicles in the Clovis, NM, area on June 12 brought a truckload of work for insurance companies and body shops.

George Songer, owner of Rembrandt’s Auto Body Shop in Clovis, said he received 256 claims in just one day on June 16.

“We’re so busy we can’t get to our collision repair we already have in,” Songer said. Songer also said he saw a lot of dime to egg-sized dents and mostly broken sunroofs, rather than broken windshields, thanks to the spring storm. He estimates that some cars coming in may also be totals.

Chuck Jones, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, said the storm dropped .62 inches of rain in Portales, making it the fifth wettest June 12 on record. An exact rain amount for Clovis was not available, but Jones said the storm most likely dropped “well over an inch” of rain. The storm brought snow-like hail that blanketed the streets, which made for dangerous driving conditions over the weekend.

The hail damage is so widespread Songer said he can’t keep up with the number of claims coming into his direct-repair shop. Songer said he has been writing a lot of estimates and is even glad to lose some of the jobs to insurance companies’ DRPs because they’re so swamped.

Louisania Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a law in week of June 14 that will allow vehicle mechanical breakdown insurers to provide customers with specific vehicle component coverage contracts for several items, including windshield-specific coverage, for road hazards.

Under the terms of the law, mechanical breakdown insurers can now provide windshield-specific contracts to their customers, and that contract would “promise to pay for all or part of the cost of the repair or of the replacement of windshield or window glass on a motor vehicle when the damage to the glass is caused by contact with a road hazard.” The law, which has already taken effect, says the term “road hazard” includes items such as potholes, rocks, curbs, wood debris, other debris, nails, screws, bolts, metal parts or glass, but not damage caused by a collision with another vehicle, vandalism or other causes “usually covered under the comprehensive or collision coverages.”

Gullo Toyota of Conroe, Texas, has been named the Toyota Certified Collision Center of the Year. The Toyota Motor Sales, USA award is based on meeting Toyota’s highest standards for customer service and rigid criteria for productivity in numerous key areas of the collision business.

“We were a top four finisher last year, so we did some things differently from 2008 to 2009. In particular, we concentrated on the little things - keeping the customers regularly informed and having three sign-offs when filling out quality control checklists on finished vehicles to ensure better quality. While these and other things seem simple enough, it's easy to veer away from them when faced with the demands of everyday work,” said Michael Cortez, collision center manager for Gullo Toyota. “We did not accomplish this on our own. I would like to thank Tony Gullo Jr. and family, Travis Rice with Gulf States Toyota, Dave Pyle with Toyota Motor Sales, USA, and Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes (SWAF) for all their support through the years.”

Larry Mooney, area sales manager for SWAF noted that it is a great privilege to support the Gullo Dealership network. He added that this is the fourth time in the last five years that one of Sherwin-Williams’ customers has been the recipient of this award.

Caliber Collision Centers, an operator of collision repair facilities in California and Texas, has announced the acquisition of Collision Correction located in Houston.

Collision Correction, comprised of two state of the art repair centers, was founded in 1998 by owner/operator Terral Hill. The Woodlands Center, a 25,000 square foot facility, is located off of Kuykendahl Rd.

“This center is strategically located relative to our existing centers in the Houston market to provide additional coverage for our carriers. This is an excellent acquisition and a natural fit for Caliber as we execute our mission of being the collision repair center provider of choice in every community we serve,” said Steve Grimshaw, CEO of Caliber Collision Centers.

The second location is Caliber Collision Centers– Spring, a 26,500 square foot facility located off of I-45 and Louetta Road.

Irving police on May 27 asked North Texas auto body shops to be on the lookout for a car that investigators believe was damaged in a hit-and-run crash last week that killed a U.S. Marine on Texas 183.

Car parts recovered at the scene indicated that the Mazda Tribute sustained damage to the right side of the vehicle, Irving police said.

Investigators believe that someone has repaired it or will need an estimate on the repair.

Authorities are asking repair shop employees to call Irving police if they have any information on the car which could be white or silver.

Police also said that other witnesses were at the scene who have not come forward to make reports. Irving police appealed for those people to call.

On May 19, Evan Sanchey, 23, of Yakima, Wash. was struck and killed about 5:50 a.m. in the 4400 block of Texas 183 at the Esters Road exit ramp in Irving.

Sanchey had recently flown into Dallas/Fort Worth Airport from duty in Afghanistan and was at the airport awaiting connecting flight home, Irving police said.

Sanchey was hit by the Mazda Tribute as he crossed the freeway, Irving police said.

The car slowed down briefly, but drove away eastbound on Texas 183, Irving police said.

Anyone with information should call Irving police at 972-273-1010 or 972-721-2761.