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1HomePageMap small w 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in California, NevadaOregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming

Monday, 25 July 2011 15:17

BMW May Recycle Ontario, CA, Workforce

Senator Barbara Boxer sent a letter to BMW North America CEO Jim O’Donnell on June 24, asking him to reconsider a poorly thought-out plan to fire BMW’s nearly 100 Ontario, CA employees later this summer and immediately re-open the facility the very next day with a cheaper, inexperienced work force. U.S. Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA 43) sent a similar letter to BMW as well.

The German automobile giant, Bavarian Motor Works AG, America’s most popular automaker for luxury-class autos, booked its richest earnings in its 95-year history this quarter.

BMW had global sales of almost $81 billion in 2010, or about $848,000 per employee, ranking it number 82 on Fortune’s Global 500 Companies. BMW also received over $3.6 billion in secret low-interest loans during the 2008-2009 taxpayer bailout.

Boxer wrote, “As the economic recovery continues, it is deeply disappointing that these loyal employees would be penalized at a time when your company recently reported 2011 first quarter earnings of $1.78 billion —triple that of first quarter earnings in 2010—and first quarter sales 21 percent greater than last year.”

Nevada has become the latest state to adopt a ban on texting behind the wheel as well as outlawing motorists from being able to use their cell phones while driving.

Ray LaHood, Secretary of the Department of Transportation, praised Nevada’s governor for supporting driver safety.

“I commend Governor Brian Sandoval for signing legislation that will help save lives and put a stop to dangerous distracted driving behavior on Nevada roads,” said LaHood. “In a split second, the consequences of texting behind the wheel can be devastating. There’s no call or text so important that it can’t wait.”

This move makes Nevada the 34th state to ban texting while driving and the ninth to forbid drivers from using a hand-held cellphone behind the wheel.

Violators will be penalized $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $250 if they’re ticketed a third time for cellphone use.

Auto insurance premiums may also increase as a result of the infractions.

The Santa Clara Chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) has postponed their 18th annual golf tournament from July 13 to August 25 at the Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose.

Registration will start at 11am followed by Best Ball Scramble and Shotgun Start at 1pm.

Event Fees are $145.00 per player and include Green Fees, GPS Cart, Range Balls, Box lunch, and Banquet Dinner.

Tournament Hole Events will include Hole in one for a car, Longest Drive, and Closest to the Pin.

The event is also looking for sponsors, contact Tabias Padilla (408) 406-7903 or Don Dutra (408) 406-3780 for more information.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual list of cities with the most car thefts, and Fresno, CA, tops the list. In fact, eight cities in the top 10 are in California, with the remaining two in Washington state.

Right behind Fresno are two other Central Valley cities, Modesto and Bakersfield. Sacramento, Stockton, and an area including San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont also make the list. Spokane, WA, comes in at No. 4. Surprisingly, Los Angeles is all the way down at 23.

Here are the top 10 cities for car theft in 2010:

1. Fresno, Calif.
2. Modesto, Calif.
3. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
4. Spokane, Wash.
5. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
6. Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, Calif.
7. Stockton, Calif.
8. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
9. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
10. Yakima, Wash.

The city with the least car thefts was State College, PA.

The NICB's list does not indicate how long the cars stay stolen, as GPS is enabling a number of stolen vehicle recovery systems.

For more information please visit

Police in Fort Lauderdale, FL, are investigating how a former San Diego County car dealer died in his million-dollar mansion on June 30.

70-year old Ronald Vinci, the former owner of Pacific Honda in Kearny Mesa, owned several dealerships in the San Diego area starting in the 1960s. He also owned several Honda dealerships in the 1960s, rose to millionaire status and then later sold his franchises.

Fort Lauderdale police now believe they found out who killed the former San Diegan.

Police arrested Vinci's live-in girlfriend, Catherine Pileggi on July 5, according to NBC San Diego. Detectives said Vinci was trying to break off his relationship with Pileggi at the time of his death. They believe an argument between Pileggi and Vinci turned fatal.

Homicide detectives arrested Pileggi on July 5 after finding several items linking Pileggi to the scene. Pileggi is charged with first degree murder.

10News San Diego also reported that Vinci's body was wrapped in duct tape when it was found discovered inside the home, which is in an upscale neighborhood along Fort Lauderdale's New River.

Neighbors were stunned by the sudden, reportedly suspicious death.

"We moved here because it is real quiet and slow paced and everybody walks their dogs and says hi to each other. It is a real shock to hear something like this has happened," said neighbor, John Anderson to 10News.

Vinci formerly lived in Rancho Santa Fe, CA; reports showed he moved from San Diego to Florida in 2005.

Vinci leaves behind a son and grandson.

In a potentially far-reaching decision, the California Court of Appeals has decided that there is a Private Right of Action Against California Insurers who Violate California Insurance Code Section 758.5. This ruling appears to allow for insurance companies to be sued for violations of the state's anti-steering law, Insurance Code section 758.5. In this specific case, the insured was awarded at least his legal costs in bringing the case against Progressive.