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Western News

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

Car Warriors is the new hit TV show on Speed. It’s the fastest, most action-packed custom-car show in the channel’s history. Each week, the pros, an All-Star regular-cast team of eight renowned car builders, six men  and two women, is confronted by a shop team of eight car builders, also pros but not so well-known. In three sleep-deprived 24-hour days, each team must take the same stripped down vehicle, which they see for the first time on day one, and turn it into an automotive work of art. What ensues is a marathon of frenzied car construction that taxes each team member to his or her limits.

Tucson-based auto body repairer, 911 Collision Centers, has just unveiled its 2011 fundraising vehicle, a beautifully restored and modified 1966 Ford Mustang.

The company is donating the vehicle as top prize in a raffle to benefit the 911 Collision Centers Community Foundation’s 2011 beneficiaries—Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The vehicle was purchased by the company and the retro-mod project became a “labor of love” under the direction of Michael Mars, 911 Collision Centers Tucson operations manager, and the team of technicians who donated their time to this fundraising project.

“This project was a huge undertaking and we are so proud of our staff’s efforts.  The car came out just beautiful.  We will sell out these raffle tickets pretty quickly so get ‘em while you can,” noted Mars.

“I have never worked for a body shop that gives back so much to the community,” said Audie Kirkpatrick, project lead technician. “We’re proud to work at 911 Collision Centers and to be able to contribute our time to a project that will help local kids in our community.”

The Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA) and the California/Nevada/Arizona Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA) hosted their second annual Automotive Aftermarket Industry Summit on February 26 at the Westin Hotel in San Diego.

CAWA Past Chair Tim Gerrity and ASCCA President Dennis Montalbano facilitated the event, which was a two hour round-table style discussion of issues the aftermarket industry is facing.

“It was very high energy, people were frank and forthright in the discussions,” said CAWA President Rodney Pierini. The meeting had very good turnout with about 85 attendees.

Attendees represented all facets of the aftermarket industry; parts store owners, warehouse distributors, manufacturers, vendors and repair garage owners.

Issues discussed ranged from training to warranties, products to supplier expectations. The group also discussed why the public does not know that the aftermarket industry is a truly green industry.

The Economic & Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC)—a government enforcement unit comprised of investigators and inspectors from several state agencies including EDD, Cal OSHA, the Labor Commissioner’s Office and other agencies—was on hand to speak to the membership at the East Bay California Autobody Association (CAA) membership on March 8 in Dublin, Calif.

Of concern to many members in attendance was “how can body shops avoid expensive fines levied on their businesses by a wide range of government watchdog organizations?”

Seemingly simple things like not posting safety posters, minor errors on payroll bookkeeping or forgetting to offer your employees 15-minute breaks during peak times can all lead to citations which can seriously interrupt or even halt operations at collision facilities throughout the state.

Deputy Labor Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, OSHA Senior Safety Engineer Eric Berg, and EDD Joint Enforcement Agent Archana Mathur gave separate presentations to the 70 East Bay CAA members on hand.

The first meeting of the New Year for the Pasadena/Foothill Chapter was held as usual at the Brookside Country Club in the Rose Bowl. The meeting was Called-to-Order by President Linda Holcomb. She mentioned briefly that IPA Rule 1147 requiring costly no-NOx burners for shops is being re-visited due to missing enforcement information from the agency.

She then announced the three speakers for the meeting: Peter MacGillivary, SEMA VP, Events and Communication; Gene Lopez, Western Regional I-CAR Director; and LKQ District Manager, Patrick Matthews, sponsor of the meeting.

A very in-depth presentation was made by LKQ Manager, Patrick Matthews. Matthews had a projection screen displaying LKQ’s new website. He covered almost everything on the screen from new product access elements to a new ordering, payment and returns system.

City Auto Body in Simi Valley, CA, has been in business for 31 years. Unlike a lot of local businesses that are downsizing, City Auto Body held an open house for their new, larger location on March 15.

Owner Gary White decided to build his own shop on an adjacent property from the leased shop the business is currently located in.

“The new building is about 25% larger than the current place,” said White.

The building cost about $2.5 million, including the property itself and the building costs for the shop—but it’s an investment White anticipates will pay off in the long run.