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

According to reports made by Insurance Journal, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has appointed John G. Franchini Superintendent of Insurance by a 4-1 vote. Franchini, a New Mexico native, boasts nearly four decades of insurance industry-related experience and said he looks to use that experience to move the Division of Insurance forward.

"I've devoted the majority of my professional life to guaranteeing and protecting New Mexico policyholders' rights with regards to their insurance," Franchini said. "As Superintendent of Insurance, I will make sure New Mexicans have the protection, cooperation and assistance of the Division of Insurance in handling their insurance questions and needs," he said.

Prior to his appointment, Franchini served as vice president of government and industry affairs for the New Mexico Mutual Group from 2004 to 2010. Before that, he was vice president of Brown & Brown of New Mexico Inc., and from 1984 to 1988, he served as president and owner of Franchini Consolidated Agency, Polson Mercer Insurance & Real Estate, Williams Consolidated, Chama Insurance Services, Consolidated Mortgage, Franchini Travel.

Production of the Tacoma pickup truck began in July but was marked August 6 with a ceremony at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc.  The $100 million investment boosts total investment to $1.4 billion.

Texas Governor Rick Perry joined San Antonio community leaders, team members, suppliers as well as Toyota officials including Toyota Motor Corporation Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi.

Tacoma’s production move to TMMTX was announced a year ago and adds 1,000 jobs. Today, over 2,800 team members are employed at TMMTX and the plant is fully positioned to ramp up Toyota’s pickup truck production for the American market.

The Texas Attorney General ordered insurer Travelers Cos. Inc. to stop running a television advertisement that he called deceptive. Attorney General Greg Abbott said that the Travelers ad improperly tells Texas homeowners that they should buy additional automobile insurance to prevent losing their homes.

“Texans are protected by robust homestead laws that insulate homeowners from the losses depicted in Travelers’ advertisements,” Abbott said in the release.

The Texas Constitution (Article 16, Section 50) strictly prohibits the forced sale of a person’s homestead except in narrow circumstances, clearly protecting homeowners from just the type of situation outlined in the Travelers television ad.

If Travelers continues to air the ad, the company will face legal action by the state, Abbott said. Abbott’s action comes two days after Texas Watch, a consumer advocacy group, asked Abbott and Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin to take action against the company.

During the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Roadcheck 2010, which ran from June 8 through June 10, DPS troopers inspected 6,906 commercial vehicles.

Twenty-five percent of them, or 1,738, were placed out of service because they were found to have serious enough safety violations to be removed from service until repairs could be made.

Troopers took 160 of the drivers (2.3 percent) out of service for violations ranging from not properly tracking their hours of service to suspended, expired or cancelled driver licenses. Four drivers were placed out of service for drug or alcohol violations. Troopers issued five tickets for seat belt violations.

DPS Commercial Vehicle Enforcement troopers, along with highway patrol troopers and other inspectors who have received specialized training in commercial vehicle inspection, stopped commercial vehicles to inspect safety equipment and check driver licenses, endorsements and log books. Troopers also looked for possible drug or alcohol use.

The annual Roadcheck program stretches from Mexico to Canada.

The Oklahoma Auto Body Association may have started as a fellowship group five years ago, but today it is spending its time fighting for the rights of its collision-industry members.

“The ‘same six guys’ have always gotten together through the last 25 years and put together some sort of affiliation,” says Jeff Leatherock, President of OKABA and Owner of Hammer & Dolly Body Shop in Oklahoma City, OK. “This is the latest—and the best.”

In addition to Leatherock, these founders are Gary Wano Jr., owner of G W and Son Auto Body, Oklahoma City; Brian Shellem, Advanced Automotive Equipment and Prestige Automotive Refinishes, Oklahoma City; Chris Donnelley, Body Works, Oklahoma City; Doug Reinhardt, Car Craft Auto Body, Oklahoma City; and Mickey and Shannon Varner, Jay’s Body Shop, in El Reno, about 20 miles outside Oklahoma City off Interstate 40.

Prior to OKABA, a number of associations served the Oklahoma collision industry, including an ASA chapter and the Fellowship of Concerned Repairers of Oklahoma, or FOCRO, Leatherock says. Tulsa also has a loose fellowship, he adds.
“I believe the association can bring a united voice as well as a conduit of communication among shops, insurers, legislators, vendors, and anyone else involved in the collision industry,” says Shellem, an OKABA boardmember since 2006. His Advanced Automotive Equipment is one of the largest Celette dealers in the country, he says, and supplies a full range of equipment to the collision industry, primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Prestige provides automotive finishes to Oklahoma City shops.

Thursday, 08 July 2010 18:44

Heartland Automotive to move HQ to Dallas

Heartland Automotive Services Inc., the largest franchisee of Jiffy Lube, said it will move its corporate offices to Dallas by the end of 2010.

The company, which operates about 400 auto servicing centers under the Jiffy Lube name, said it chose the Dallas location because of its proximity to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Heartland Automotive Services said that all corporate office staff will be able to stay with the company if they relocate from the current headquarters in Omaha. The company will still operate a division office in Omaha.

The move is expected to begin late summer or early fall and be completed by year-end.